Shirin Neshat (Iranian, active New York, born 1957)
Ink on photograph
Purchase, Reba and Dave Williams Gift, 1997 (1997.129.8)
Neshat created the Women of Allah series between 1993 and 1997 upon returning from a trip to Iran after many years in exile during and following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. In this series, the veiled, gun-bearing women and the black-and-white photograph format suggest newspaper clippings showing Iranian women's involvement in the Iran-Iraq War and Islamic Revolution. Handwritten verses over the body often act as an analogue to the spoken word and quote feminist poets and writers such as Furugh Farrukhzad and Tahira Saffarzada. Here, the woman's hand gesture suggests prayer, and the popular prayer inscribed on the edge of her white veil reads: "Give a hand so I can hold a hand..."