Texts by Shoja Youssefi Azari and Shirin Neshat.
In Shirin Neshat's photographs, Arabic calligraphic script is transcribed over black-and-white depictions of the exposed faces, hands, and feet of Iranian women. In her video works, swarms of women in black hijabs ululate; a man in a white dress shirt and black pants sings to an all-male audience; and a lone, nearly invisible woman chants to herself in a darkened house. Though focused on the particulars of the oppression of women in contemporary Iran, Neshat underscores the relevance of her poetic, disturbing, moving ensembles to a broader culture. Presented here are stills from five of Neshat's recent films: Tooba (2002), in which a female protagonist wanders through the artist's interpretation of the Garden of Eden; The Last Word (2003), a surreal and disturbing look into the mind of an Iranian woman writer; Mahdokht (2004), Neshat's first feature-length film, set in a magical garden and based on Shahrnoush Parsipour's novella, Women without Men and Zarin (2005).