They needed a few destitute women to exploit and do the dirty work in the film though. A second dark clump of black appears. Women disguised by black chadors are burrowing into the dirt and dust of the desert, bobbing, and chanting, “die die die.” There is a moment when the viewer is startled by the fact that the arduous circle of characters in black are indeed all female. One of an increasing number of female artists, Shirin Neshat, is director and empress of her visionary world. Like a sexist king might, she has clearly defined the unfortunate roles of the female cast. Of course only in her films can she call such shots, for gender roles are very much reverse in much of the world. Again the very lucky privileged roles of men and the involuntary deplorable roles of women are depicted in the Neshat’s movie.
Despite an overcast political climate in the West, many female artists feel safer working in the United States compared to the Middle East. As Shirin Neshat’s artwork became critical of the Iranian government, she found her self exiled to the States. She studied at U.C. Berkeley in California. Shirin Neshat, one of the great female artists, works with identity art, particularly identity art concerning Iranian women (Neshat).
Required works of art for AP Art History – Smarthistory
Gender in the Middle East is a theme for Shirin Neshat’s , Passage (2001), on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Passage is an intensely layered eleven and a half minutes of video. The work opens on desolate, arid, ominous, and stark sand dunes with turbulent waves crashing nearby. Four views cut together abruptly and only seem to converge and make sense at the end. There are several men dressed in black solemnly marching across the sandy terrain and eventually inland while those at the front carry a pristine white stretcher. Another view is of several more women dressed in chadors also in black arranged on the ground in a circle and bobbing rhythmically as they chant. One of the female artists, Shirin Neshat, also shows viewers a young girl clearing a site for her newly erected structure of stone and twigs. Finally the views all merge and a triangular arrangement of stone and flames surround all the previous elements. Beautifully suspenseful music heightens the mood of the strange events. Passage is disturbing visually as well as symbolically with allusions to the dark realities of female artists and their identities in identity art.