Baku, Azerbaijan (2015) – This summer The Home of My Eyes, by Iranian-born, New York–based artist Shirin Neshat, featured photo portraits of over 50 people taken throughout Azerbaijan in 2014. The subjects of the portraits, ranging from two to 80 years old, responded to these questions about cultural identity and their concept of home:
- “What does home mean to you?”
- “If you had to define an image of your country, what would it be?”
- “What makes you most proud of where you are from?”
- “What are you most proud of from your country’s past and what would you like to pass on to your family and the next generation?”
A fine overlay of calligraphy integrated their words into the portraits, which covered two full walls of the YARAT Contemporary Art Space in a converted Soviet-era naval building. The questions were also displayed on the wall as part of the installation.
Shirin Neshat said of the work: “I consider the new series of images a portrait of a country that has for so long been a crossroads for many different ethnicities, religions, and languages. This series combines fifty-five portraits of men and women from different generations to create a tapestry of human faces which pays tribute to the rich cultural history of Azerbaijan and its diversity.”
Earlier video installations by Neshat—Soliloquy (1999) and Passage (2001)—completed the public exhibition.
You can read more about The Home of My Eyes in a recent Huffington Post interview with Neshat here. Another public exhibition of her work, Shirin Neshat: Facing History is on view at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. through September 20.
A Drop of Sky, the 3rd Baku Public Art Festival, was also commissioned by YARAT Contemporary Art Space and is taking place in the city from June 13 to October 5, 2015.