January 28, 2013
Shirin Neshat: From Behind the Veil to Behind the Camera
International art star & Iranian filmmaker Shirin Neshat to present keynote at SCAD deFINE Art, Feb. 21, Atlanta
By Nancy Staab
Neshat weaves her potent messages via film, video, photography, song, and Islamic calligraphy and now she’s screening her recent feature film “Men without Women” at SCAD Savannah.
Global artist and winner of the International Golden Lion Award at the 1999 Venice Bienniale, Shirin Neshat, will set foot in Atlanta on Feb. 21 and Savannah on Feb. 22 as the honoree of SCAD’s deFine Art 2013. Neshat is an Iranian émigré who moved to New York City to pursue an art career during the Iranian Revolution. She’s made a career out of capturing the complexities of Islamic womanhood from a personal, psychological, cultural and political perspective via videos that are non-polemical. In fact, her work is deeply lyrical. Drawing on photography, split-screen video, Islamic song, and striking black-and-white images of elaborate Persian calligraphy inscribed on people’s bodies, Neshat touches on universal themes of “identity, desire and social isolation” says Art in America, in addition to Islamic and feminist themes. Maybe that is why her work is so haunting and resonant.
In 2009 her first feature-length film “Women Without Men” won the Silver Lion award for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival. The film, based on Shahrnush Parsipur’s 1989 novel of the same name, examines the 1953 British-American backed coup, which re-installed the shah and a monarchy in Iran. Neshat transforms the once-banned-in-Iran novel into a “dreamlike narrative that interweaves the women’s personal stories with the political upheavals of 1953 Tehran,” says Art in America. See Neshat present her keynote address at SCAD-Atlanta at 6PM on Feb. 21. On Feb. 22 Neshat presents her keynote address at SCAD-Savannah at 6PM Feb. 22, and screens "Women Without Men" at SCAD’s Trustees Theater in Savannah. Past SCAD deFINE Art honorees include artists Marina Abramovic and Fred Wilson.