TRANSPERSONAL SELF – Studio art assignment related to Shirin Neshat

Shirin Neshat is a woman of Allah, a resident of Chinatown, and messenger of gendered cultural values, yet her work is distinguished by vision and revelation, qualities she shares with Georgia O’Keefe.

Both O’Keeffe and Neshat discover universal rhythms and patterns, texturs and contours in the specific landscapes and skyscapes of their stark desert homes – O’Keeffe in the western US and Neshat in the Middle East. Although Neshat’s engagement with landscape is integral to her concern with humanistic themes, both artists connect, ritualistically, with rocks, sand, trees, plants, clouds, and other enduring markers of their surroundings.

Compare any painting by O’Keeffe to “Rapture,” the film installation by Neshat. Discuss how each evokes the desert. Is it background or foreground? A symbol or an actuality? Is it cultural or transcultural or personal?