In Conversation with Fatenn Mostafa, founder of ArtTalks, Iranian-born, New-York based filmmaker and artist Shirin Neshat talked for the first time in Egypt to a packed audience of art collectors and artists. Present with Shirin Neshat was her life-long professional collaborator and photographer Larry Barns.
After going through a snapshot of her extraordinary politically-charged portfolio of work, Neshat talked about exile, longing, women in Muslim societies, the parallels between Iran and Egypt and the importance of being an artist in today’s turbulent world. Neshat has become a voice for her people examining Iran pre- and post-Islamic Revolution, tracing political and societal changes through powerful images or films of women.
Shirin Neshat is a prolific artist who has worked in a variety of mediums including film and photography. Neshat was born in Iran but moved to the United States after high school; however, the 1979 Iranian Revolution prevented her from returning to her native country. Only in 1990 was she able to return to Iran.
It was probably one of the most shocking experiences that I have ever had. The difference between what I had remembered from the Iranian culture and what I was witnessing was enormous.”Art became a tool for examining her sense of cultural and geographic displacement. In 1999, she won the International Award of the 48th Venice Biennale with Turbulent and Rapture videos. In 2009, her first feature film, Women without Men, earned the Silver Lion for best director at the 66th Venice Film Festival.
Finally, Neshat passionately talked about her current project and what will bring her to Egypt more often – a feature film about the iconic singer Umm Kalthoum.