Iranian artist Shirin Neshat’s latest curated show, The Mask and The Mirror, is a thoughtful and timely collection of self- portraits from a provocative and diverse group of contemporary artists. Featuring works by Marina Abramović, Matthew Barney, Paolo Canevari, Feridoun Ghaffari, Ramin Haerizadeh, Lyle Ashton Harris, Y.Z. Kami, Shahram Karimi, Robert Mapplethorpe, Youssef Nabil, Nicky Nodjoumi, Bahar Sabzevari, Cindy Sherman and Shahzia Sikander, the self-portraits provide an intimate, emotional insight as well as a social documentary reflecting cultural, political and religious issues. Through costume, disguise and illusion the artist creates a world that is both fantastical and highly personal.
Shirin Neshat has always been interested in the idea of the capturing of identity and self expression and how this has been shaped and influenced by Western culture. In 1993 she created the photographic self portrait series Women of Allah. For her, more than being autobiographical, the self portraits allowed her to provide a personal narration of other people’s stories. She used her own body as a vehicle of political and cultural expression.
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