Portrait of a Country: Interview with Shirin Neshat
By Sylvia Tsai
In March 2014, New York-based Iranian artist Shirin Neshat made her first trip to the seaside Caucasus nation of Azerbaijan, nestled among Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Russia, where she was commissioned to create a new work for Yarat, a nonprofit arts organization in its capital, Baku. Lauded for her striking black-and-white photographs and equally emotional cinematic practice, Neshat draws upon the history of Muslim societies and gender politics as the core of her artistic inquiry. The commissioned work, The Home of My Eyes (2015), is a monochromatic photographic installation made up of 55 portraits, which was inspired by the cultural diversity of Azerbaijan and its people.