Shirin Neshat Biography
Neshat is a female visual artist, born in Iran and educated in America where she currently resides. Although her work has never been exhibited in her own home country, she has gained international recognition. Neshat has strived to become an influential artist, winning awards such as Best Director at the 66th Venice Film Festival. Collectively, her works explore the concepts of exile, social isolation and Muslim women’s shaping of identity under a feminine lens. Neshat evokes these social, cultural and religious codes of Muslim societies and the complexity of men and women. This is shown through a series of lyrical black and white installations.

Turbulent, 1998
Neshat’s 1998 video installation Turbulent is the first of a composing trilogy, evoking ongoing conflicts and tensions of human identity inflicted by differences of gender in Muslim culture. She addresses historical, cultural and socio-political masculine and feminine issues in relation to the social structure in Iran. This installation is constructed using a double screen format, projecting images of a male and female performer on separate screens. The male begins to sing passionately in an auditorium to a large male audience, as the female singer silently stares into a room of empty seats. Once the male has completed his song and is heavily applauded, the woman begins to sing in a very different and electronically modified voice as the camera pans around her back and forth. This installation expresses the juxtapositioning of the sexual hierarchy between men and women in Iranian society and culture. Neshat’s depiction of opposites, visually and conceptually, signifies how the male singer represents society’s ideal man, while the woman portrays the extreme pressure women are under, therefore they are ultimately more likely to resist and break free. The female singer becomes rebellious and manipulates a traditional song, improvising the lyrics while performing in a public space, which is actually prohibited for women to do in Iran.  The combination of image and music are important elements is Neshat’s work. This mix intensifies the emotional quality, generating an intuitive involvement for the viewer who stands in the middle of the work. The viewer engages in the visual conversation, removing the traditional cinematic experience.

Shirin Neshat, video installation, Turbulent, 1998, Accessed 23/4/2014

Art in American Magazine 2014, Shirin Neshat, Accessed 23/4/2014,

Iran Chamber Society, Shirin Neshat, Accessed 23/4/2014,

Museo Magazine 2014, Shirin Neshat, Accessed 23/4/2014,

Mutual Art, Shirin Neshat, Accessed 23/4/2014,–TURBULENT-SERIES–DIPTYCH/4D38C5C87533C03D