Shirin Neshat and Gender Relations in Iran

The photography and film of Shirin Neshat is a provocative look at women and gender relations in Iran

Shirin Neshat was born in Iran, left before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and has been unable to return since 1996.  Since that time, she has been experimenting with visual art as a way to represent her experiences in exile as well as the life of women in Iran.  Neshat first received acclaim for her photographic collection entitled “Women of Allah” (of which the opening photo  is a part).  “Women of Allah” was a “series of provocative photographs of herself wearing the chador and posing with weapons. Onto these images she inscribed Iranian women’s poetry and religious texts that argue against, as well as defend, the veil. Using herself as a model allowed the artistic process to become an act of meditation on the symbols of modern Iran. She cloaked herself in both the veil and the language of these debates, leaving the western viewer on the outside of the discourse (thank you Muzderauli).”

[tweetmeme] After the collection of photographs, Neshat moved to film and produced the trilogy of “Turbulent,” “Rapture” and “Fervor” that depicted the complicated gender relations in Iran.  Most recently, Neshat created the film “Women Without Men,” a look at the lives of five women during the reinstatement of the Shah in 1953.  Almost existentially weaving the lives of the five women together, we see how the current events of the day combine with the religious and social structures of Iran to change the lives of the women.  Beautifully shot, it is certainly worth watching.

A look at “Women Without Men”:

Photos from Neshat’s “Women of Allah” series:

For more information on Shirin Neshat’s beautiful work visit the Women Without Men website, The Iranian (though, interestingly, not available in Saudi Arabia), Andrew Sullivan and Wikipedia.

Photo from Verlichtingshumanisten

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