Allegories of Flight
Shirin Neshat’s influences include artists and filmmakers whose works embody “poetic, philosophical, and highly politically charged narratives and visual style,” and has stated that her own work—whether made in Morocco, Mexico, the United States or Iran—offers more questions than answers. Mysticism is important to Neshat’s practice and to Persian culture, where flight plays an important role as a metaphor for the freeing of the spirit. This event will include live music, poetry readings and performance featuring artists mining a plethora of themes found in Neshat’s work and Persian literature—including resistance, healing, metaphor and mysticism—to tell stories across a constellation of cultures and identities.
Highlighting the importance of poetry in Persian culture and how it provides the inspiration for much of Neshat’s work, renowned poets Natalie Diaz and Naomi Shihab Nye will read their own work. Iranian-Canadian brothers Saint Abdullah will weave sampled music and voices in various languages and from countries across the Middle East into original compositions reflecting on current events. Davia Spain will perform deeply personal live music and vocals, touching on themes including trans experience and institutions and systems designed to suppress ancient, ancestral knowledge. Artist and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors will debut a specially commissioned performance work that directly addresses the concept of “allegories of flight” through the lenses of social justice and jail reform, mental health and addiction, and the blood bonds of family.
Co-organized with independent literary curators Louise Steinman and Maureen Moore.