The Israeli general public is likely to associate “Iran” with war, terrorism, religious fanaticism, and “death to America, death to Israel” than to art, contemporary or ancient. Access to Shirin Neshat’s photography and filmography may be helpful to widen the perspective.
The exhibition of her work that just opened at The Broad, in Los Angeles, motivated me to produce a short documentary as an homage to her work. I titled it “Shirin Neshat — Magic Realism Without Smiles.”
Shirin Neshat captures depth from the subjects of her photographic portraits and creates fiction in high-quality videos and film. The uniqueness of her work derives from a feminine sensitivity and an understanding of ancient cultures. She opens a window for the Western world to look at “the other,” beyond itself.
The exhibition is named “I Will Bring the Sun Again,” from the title of a poem by the Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad. It presents over 230 photographs and eight video installations. The images take us to ancient cultures that include not only Persia’s ancient history and traditions, but also to Morocco, Mexico, Egypt, and Azerbaijan. She observes displacement, alienation, and political oppression with an acute eye.