Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat, Looking For Oum Kulthum, film

Shirin Neshat, 'Looking For Oum Kulthum'

Shirin Neshat‘s lecture will offer an overview of the development of her art and her ongoing multi-media practice involving still-photography, video installations, performance, and feature length films.   She will primarily focus on her most recent projects, including her direction of an opera “Aida,” which was presented at the Salzburg Music Festival in 2017, in collaboration with world renowned Riccardo Muti and Soprano singer, Anna Netrebko; as well as speaking, and showing clips of her latest movie “Looking for Oum Kulthum” (2017,) based on the life and music of Egyptian singer. Neshat will also share glimpses into her new and upcoming projects, including her next film titled “Dreamland,” to be shot in 2019.


Shirin Neshat is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. Neshat’s early photographic works include the Women of Allah series (1993–1997), which explored the question of gender in relation to Islamic fundamentalism and militancy. Her subsequent video works departed from overtly political content or critique in favor of more poetic imagery and complex human narratives. Neshat continues to explore and experiment with the mediums of photography, video and film. Her most recent bodies of work include the photographic series The Book of Kings (2012), The Home of My Eyes (2015) and the trilogy Dreamers comprised of three video installations: Illusions and Mirrors (2013), Roja (2016), and Sarah (2016).

Neshat has held numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums worldwide, including the Museo Correr in Venice, Italy, to coincide with the 2017 Venice Biennale; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Doha; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul; Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, Michigan; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, among others.

Neshat has participated in major international group exhibitions, including the 48th Venice Biennale of Art (1999), the Whitney Biennial (2000), Documenta XI (2002) and LACMA (2015). Neshat was the recipient of the Golden Lion Award – the First International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennial (1999), the Hiroshima Freedom Prize (2005), The Crystal Award (2014), and the Praemium Imperiale (2017). Her work is included in the collections of museums and public institutions around the world.

In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. She has recently completed her second feature-length film, based on the life and art of the legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum. Neshat is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.


This event is made possible with funding from the Graham Gund Exhibition Fund and is co-organized by the GSD and the Harvard Art Museums.

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].