"Since the beginning, the core of my work has been inseparable from socio-political issues. It is simply impossible to touch on any issues surrounding Islam without doing this. What has changed for me is how to frame my ideas so that they neither validate, nor dismiss, specific social or political agendas. The work is not designed to take a position or offer an opinion, but rather to function as a discourse and a dialogue on the subject."
In the early 1990s, Neshat, an Iranian artist living in New York, began to produce a body of photographs dealing with women in contemporary Islam. Through mesmerizing allegory, she examined the Islamic revolution, the idea of martyrdom, and the veil. Moving from the single image to what she terms "a choreography of images," since 1996, video and film installation has become a more prominent aspect of her art. Working at an intersection between cinema and visual arts, Neshat privileges the magnetic quality of narrative over the random, and, while engaging socio-political and spiritual ideas of Islam in critique, does so in a style that moves beyond the purely didactic or ethnographic.
  "One of the most important developments in contemporary art has been the slow disappearance of media in its pure form. More and more, artists feel freedom in experimenting and crossing disciplines. Responding to the age of technology and popular culture, artists are approaching film, video and photography as if they are holding a paint brush, and are redefining the field by incorporating every possible form of art in constructing their concepts. Allow your imagination to formulate ideas without fear of the lack of skill, simply reach to those who could provide you with technical help. Once you enter that horizon, the possibilities become immense. As a visual artist you might think of composing music, writing stories, making a film or even directing theater. Try threading in between many creative forms without claiming them as your expertise."

  Born 1957, Qazvin, Iran

Lives in New York City

1981 M.F.A., University of California, Berkeley

1979 M.A., University of California, Berkeley

1977 B.A., University of California, Berkeley

  2000 Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, Austria
  1999 The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Patrick Painter Gallery, Los Angeles; D'Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
  1998 Tate Gallery, London, England; Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris Branch, New York; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris

  2000 Kwangju Biennale 2000, Kwangju, Korea; 12th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; 5th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France
  1999 Projects #70: Shirin Neshat, Simon Patterson, Xu Bing, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Carnegie International, 1999/2000, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy; SITE SANTA FE: Looking For a Place, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  1998 Unfinished History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; ECHOLOT, Museum Fridericianum Kassel, Kassel, Germany

  1999 "Shirin Neshat: Interview," Interview Magazine, September
  1997 Shirin Neshat, book published by Marco Noire Contemporary Art, Turino, Italy

  1999 First International Prize, The "Golden Lion" Award, Venice Biennale
  1998 Prize for best project, ARCO, Madrid, Spain
  1996 New York Foundation for the Arts Photography Fellowship
  1996 Tiffany Foundation
  1995 Mid-Atlantic Photography Fellowship
  1995 Art Matters grant
  1991-92 Artist-in-Residence, Henry Street Settlement, New York