The Iranian artist Shirin Neshat has spent her career documenting the struggle for civil liberties that still rages throughout much of the Islamic world, approaching every project with an exacting yet empathetic eye. Her latest series, “Our House Is on Fire,” a special commission from the Rauschenberg Foundation, explores the consequences of the recent revolution in Egypt through the eyes the loved ones that were left behind by its victims. Recruited on the streets of Cairo, Neshat’s subjects put a face to the mourning that still consumes the city three years after Tahrir Square. “This idea came to me while I was shooting a movie in Egypt. My artist assistant had just loss his daughter,” explains Neshat. “What I saw in him was echoed in the streets, a country inundated by loss and mourning.”
Emotional and personal, the work speaks to loss as an inescapable part of the human condition. “When a revolution starts there is something euphoric and contagious about it,” explains the artist. “No one thinks about the human cost and that’s the story I wanted to share, the grief that connects the victims and the victors.”
“Our House Is on Fire” opens on January 30th 2013 in New York at the Rauschenberg Foundation Project Space with all proceeds from sales on Artspace.com going to benefit a human rights organization in Egypt of the artist choosing.