Shirin Neshat, 'Sarah', 2016 (still). Single - channel video installation (duration: 12 min, 55 sec)

Iranian-born artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat (1957– ) will be celebrated with a solo exhibition Dreamers, featuring a trilogy of video installations, at the NGV International opening in mid November.

A New-York based artist, she has since the early 1990's explored the complex relationships of femininity to Islam, representations of the Muslim faith in poetic and evocative ways, and the manner in which various social, political, religious and cultural codes shape us as individuals.

Director, NGV, Tony Ellwood AM, says ‘Shirin Neshat is renowned for her films depicting women grappling with identity and society. The Dreamers is an important trilogy, bringing together three works that are both topical and timeless in their exploration of the female experience.’

Living in the United States for the past 45 years, Neshat has been widely lauded for her work, winning the Golden Lion at the 1999 Venice Biennale among numerous other accolades. For her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, Neshat was awarded the 2009 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion for best director, and in 2017 she released her second feature film, Looking for Oum Kulthum.

Shirin Neshat, Illusions & Mirrors, 2013 (still) black and white, XX film

Neshat’s fascination with the subconscious is highlighted in Dreamers, a trilogy of black and white video installations in which the artist recreates the unstable and mesmerising space of dreams, inviting audiences to travel with her exploring the inner lives of the women depicted. In many ways, the characters and their surreal narratives are projections of the artist, through which she reflects on some of her own personal nightmares and dreamscapes.

The first work in the trilogy, Illusions & Mirrors (2013), features Natalie Portman as the protagonist. She is led by a blurry figure from a dreamlike seashore, with crashing waves and sand dunes, to a stately home in ruin. As she moves from room to room she encounters her doppelgänger and faces from the past, perhaps too from her future.

Don't miss the trilogy in their entirety, Dreamers, now on at the NGV til the end of autumn!


Dates: 15 November 2019 – 19 April 2020

Location: NGV International - 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Times: 10am - 5pm daily

Cost: Free entry

NGV International Website