To mark the opening of YARAT Contemporary Art Centre in Baku on 24 March 2015, YARAT is delighted to announce the exhibition Shirin Neshat: The Home of My Eyes. This is a major new commission, produced following the artist’s time in Azerbaijan and also includes two of Neshat’s earlier works, the seminal video installations Soliloquy (1999) and Passage (2001) and is guest curated by Dina Nasser-Khadivi.
Also marking the opening is an exhibition from YARAT’s permanent collection, with work by artists from the Caucasus, Central Asia and neighbouring countries, alongside work by international artists whose work resonates with Azerbaijan. The collection itself has been accumulated over the past three years and will continue to grow, in part through special commissions for exhibitions at YARAT Contemporary Art Space curated by Suad Garayeva.
Shirin Neshat’s work has explored the complexities of cultural identity, gender and power to express a vision that embraces Persian traditions and contemporary concepts of individuality. In her recent photographic work, she has focused on the portrait as a prism to reveal the cultural dynamics and personal histories of her subjects, exploring the narratives that can be ‘read’ in an individual.
This new commission, The Home of My Eyes (2015), builds on Neshat’s growing interest in portraiture. During time spent in Azerbaijan in 2014, she photographed over fifty individuals who came from communities across the country, ranging from two to eighty years old. While taking the photographs, Neshat asked participants a series of questions regarding their culturalidentity and their concept of home. The resulting responses are written in calligraphy overlaying the portraits. The assembled images make up a monumental installation which fills two entire walls of one of the eleven metre-high exhibition galleries of YARAT Contemporary Art Centre, a converted Soviet-era naval building.
As Shirin Neshat explains herself: “I consider the new series of images a portrait of a country that has for so long been a crossroads for many different ethnicities, religions, and languages. This series combines fifty-five portraits of men and women from different generations to create a tapestry of human faces which pays tribute to the rich cultural history of Azerbaijan and its diversity.”
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