Shirin Neshat, inadvertent narrator of history

A woman looks at the art of Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat during the exhibits public opening at the Hirschhorn Art Museum in Washington, DC, May 18, 2015Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat's dark kohl-lined eyes are immediately recognizable. The Hirshhorn Museum's retrospective in Washington, just steps from Congress, coincides with a diplomatic push to seal a nuclear deal with Iran that has revived interest in relations between Tehran and the West. The non-linear narrative of the exhibit provides a glimpse not just at Neshat's art and life, but also the trajectory of Iran in modern times, from the 1953 coup through the 1979 Islamic Revolution to the recent Green Movement. Although the self-described secular Muslim, insists her exile is "self-imposed," her work is so controversial in Iran that it has yet to be shown there publicly, and she has not returned since 1996.


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