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A concept art exhibition featuring Shirin Neshat and Shezad Dawood.


Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood is an artist and filmmaker, using many mediums to create multiple narratives across his works by juxtaposing them into a variety of systems. He was born in London in 1974 and raised by a Pakistani mother, an Indian father and an Irish stepmother. This is what created his interest in using a variety of different forms of art as well as the systems in which society uses to judge their value. His practice often involves collaboration, working with groups and individuals across different territories. The themes of his works are mostly “performing cinema, the (an-)archive, and an inquiry into modes of perception and how they move across the spectrum of the alchemical and the digital, figuration and abstraction and what it means to make images and texts at this moment in time.” 


Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat is an Iranian artist currently living in New York City, but originally born in Qazvin, Iran in 1957. She is best known for her work in photography and film. After graduating school, she married a Korean curator, Kyong Park, the director of the non-profit Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, and ended up helping him, which influenced her artworks later on. She then returned to Iran in 1993, where she began making art again. She stated, ”It was probably one of the most shocking experiences that I have ever had. The difference between what I had remembered from the Iranian culture and what I was witnessing was enormous.” She is widely recognized as a powerful Iranian artist and she uses this to tell stories of her background culture, communicating universal ideas about loss, meaning, memory, and what it is to be an Iranian woman.

The concept of this exhibition is to bring two very different artists, Shirin Neshat and Shezad Dawood originating in the Middle East together into one show. Both have not only very different backgrounds and upbringings, but also different views on their origins, which is very clear in their artworks. Shirin Neshat uses photography and video as art mediums, while Shezad Dawood uses neon to create his works. The show is divided into two phrases: Out of the Darkness and Into the Light. These titles are not only supposed to represent the layout of the show, but the content.


The Middle East has been at war for centuries and these wars have effected the world in many ways. The way the average person looks at these events is not with a positive light, and much of the information we as a society are told by the media and other information outlets is often biased and false. I believe that art is one way to find truth of expression. These artists take the emotions they feel from both what is happening in the world and what is happening to them and fashion it into an art piece. This form of visual information is more personal and tells a story wrought from experience rather than ratings. It is from this passion that I draw inspiration to design for this joint exhibition, using not only the artworks but also the culture to consider. I took colours, materials, and ideas from each artist and created a space in which the audience can appreciate this storytelling in an immersive and personal way.



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