Loosely based on Shahrnush Parsipur’s magic-realist novel, Shirin Neshat’s debut feature uses Iran’s 1953 CIA-backed coup d’etat as a backdrop for examining the anatomy of the country’s patriarchal society.
Over the course of several days, Women Without Men follows four women of varying social class and age as their lives converge in a haunting metaphorical orchard. All are at points of transition: Munis, the political activist; Zarin, the young prostitute; Fakhri, the unhappily married middle-aged upper cruster; and Faezeh, the innocent. Together, they struggle to find themselves amid the political and social turmoil of the time.
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Afsoon, a young Iranian artist who’s getting a lot of play on the developing Middle Eastern art scene, migrated from Iran to San Francisco to London, where — as an adult — things finally clicked. Enjoying her first solo show in New York at the touted Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery, Afsoon offers works from her Fairytale Icons series, which features black-and-white appropriated portraits of Iranian rulers, heads of state that brokered the WWII peace treaty in Tehran, and celebrated Muslim actors, artists, poets, princesses, musicians, and sport’s figures, such as the controversial boxer Muhammad Ali, who’s visualized surrounded by butterflies and bees.
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