Veils, Poems, Guns, and Martyrs: Four Themes of Muslim Women’s Experiences in Shirin Neshat’s Photographic Work


  • Nina Cichocki SUNY Buffalo


Shirin Neshat, Iranian women, women in Islam, martyrdom, veiling


Shirin Neshatââ¬â¢s compelling series of photographs, Unveiling (1993) and Women of Allah (1994), have provoked very favourable reactions from both critics and audience. Yet, the cultural stereotypes of the oppressed Muslim woman within which most critiques operate detract from the complexity of her work. While Neshat indeed prompts such critiques due to the fact that her photographs elaborate on the Western media images of Iranian women, a closer look at her imagery will reveal that Neshat disclaims any reductionist and totalizing views on Iranian womenââ¬â¢s experience.

Author Biography

Nina Cichocki, SUNY Buffalo

Nina Cichocki is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at SUNY Buffalo, specializing in Islamic Culture. She has written her dissertation on the life story of a Turkish Bath, the Cemberlitas Hamam in Istanbul. Her primary interests are in Ottoman Architectural History and Heritage Politics in Turkey, but she also does research on contemporary visual culture in Iran.