Artist Shirin Neshat shifts her gaze from Iran to the U.S.

Neshat sees the complicated world of geopolitics as essential to her art. She joined q's Tom Power to discuss how her work reflects her life as an Iranian woman in exile.
Iranian visual artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat. (Rodolfo Martinez)

Shirin Neshat is an Iranian-American artist who sees the complicated world of geopolitics as essential to her art. When Iran's Islamic Revolution happened in the late '70s, she was an art student studying in the U.S., and it took 11 years before she was able to go back. 

"Psychologically, economically and politically I felt cornered," she tells q's Tom Power. 

When she returned to Iran briefly in 1990, her first reaction was shock. "It was like the colour was lifted out of Iranian society and everything was black and white." 

But in that, Neshat also saw inspiration, presenting a new image of Iran for her to engage with. Since then, the award-winning visual artist and filmmaker has always made her art in exile. 

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      In a new retrospective of her work at The Broad museum in Los Angeles, Neshat shifts her gaze from Iran to the United States. Her new video and photography project is called Land of Dreams

      "I felt that it was important for me to turn my attention back to the U.S.," she says, especially given the current climate between the two countries. "I love this country but i can be critical of it, just like I love Iran but can be critical of that country."  

      She joined us on the line from New York to talk about the motivations for her art and how it was born out of revolution.

      Download our podcast or click the 'Listen' link above to hear the full conversation with Shirin Neshat.

      — Produced by ​Ben Edwards

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