Shirin Neshat
Iran, 1957
Shirin Neshat (Qazvin, Iran, 1957) uses a transcultural perspective to explore how patriarchal ideology shapes the experience of the female body. This Iranian artist left her country in 1974 and settled in the United States. The outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 prevented her from returning until 1990, and her response to the strict imposition of traditional models by Ayatollah Khomeini’s theocratic regime triggered the series of photographs entitled Women of Allah (1993–1997). Transformed into a “theatre of protest”, her own body revealed what it meant to be an “Islamic woman”. Dressed in a chador and bearing rifles or pistols, Neshat explored how the ideas of revolution, violence and martyrdom liken men and women, while the norms regulating sexuality and behaviour in the public space segregate them. Hamid Dabashi, professor of Iranian studies, points to two key factors in Neshat's oeuvre: her questioning of the conflicts surrounding the “Islamic body” and the return of the colonial gaze, which reinstates the stereotypes and Orientalist fantasies of the West.
Rosa Martínez