Shirin Neshat (Iran, 1957) is a visual artist based in the United States whose works explore the image of women in Islamic society. She first gained recognition on an international level after the publication of her portraits included in the series Women of Allah (1993-1997) and then became more widely known in 1999 when she received the International Prize at the Venice Biennale for her video installations Turbulent (1998) and Rapture (1999).
Neshat made her film debut in 2009 with Women Without Men, a movie based on the novel of the same name by writer Shahrnush Parsipur. The film, part of an ambitious project that integrates five video installations, was awarded the Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival. Women Without Men tells the story of four women whose lives interweave against the background of political chaos during the 1953 coup d’état in Iran, and who find refuge, solace and friendship in the garden of a country house. Neshat’s visual poetics portray the complex socio-political, religious and historical aspects of the period, at the same time that she explores the symbolic value of the garden in Islamic tradition.
Neshat’s work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), the Serpentine Gallery (London) and the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), among other institutions.
Women Without Men, 2009, 35mm / Betacam Digital, colour, English with Spanish subtitles, 95’