The work of internationally-recognized, Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat probes the cultural, psychological and political aspects of women’s experiences in contemporary Islamic culture, a subject she revisits in her photography and video work. Neshat gained recognition in the early 1990s for her Women of Allah series, portraits of women whose bodies were overlaid with Farsi text. In these photographs, and others produced afterward, the artist has explored issues of individual and collective identity, desire, spiritual longing, and the complex exchange between Eastern and Western cultures.
Tooba, an allegorical tale re-told by the artist in this spellbinding video, takes the viewer into an absorbing landscape where men and women are drawn in procession, to a tree of paradise, or Tooba. This symbolic garden in which Tooba is set references the Qu’ran, where the tree is represented as a feminine force. The disquiet of Neshat’s hypnotic film comes from her ability to build suspense through image and sound. Inspired by Shahrnoush Parsipur’s novel Women without Men, Tooba brings to light traditional representations of women filtered through a contemporary perspective.
Tooba is part of Elles: SAM, an unprecedented set of exhibitions and programs showcasing women artists. Join us at all three SAM sites to see the inspired vision and influential achievements of women artists.
–Marisa C. Sánchez, Associate Curator, Modern & Contemporary Art
To explore this exhibition a little deeper download our bibliography.
Tooba, 2002, Shirin Neshat, American, born Iran, 1957, 35mm film on DVD and Betacam tapes, 12 minutes, Seattle Art Museum, Given in honor of Lisa Corrin by Susan and Jeffrey Brotman, Jane and David Davis, Barney A. Ebsworth, Judy and Jeff Greenstein, Lyn and Jerry Grinstein, Richard and Betty Hedreen, Janet Ketcham, Kerry and Linda Killinger Foundation, James and Christina Lockwood, Michael McCafferty, Christine and Assen Nicolov, Faye and Herman Sarkowsky, Jon and Mary Shirley, Rebecca and Alexander Stewart, Bagley and Virginia Wright, Barbara and Charles Wright, Ann P. Wyckoff