"When I began to focus on the traditional and philosophical ideas behind Islam, particularly in relation to women, I decided to remain within the framework of the social, cultural, and religious codes. . . . I believe to have done otherwise would have been disrespectful and simply reactionary. Once I had established this pattern, I was faced with an incredibly reduced number of elements of representation. This reduction offered me a sense of clarity, of simplicity, that seemed to imply the possibility of penetrating more deeply into the subject."
"I see my work as a visual discourse on the subjects of feminism and contemporary Islam--a discourse that puts certain myths and realities to the test, claiming that they are far more complex than most of us have imagined. It is very important to point out, however, that I don't see myself as an expert on this subject. Rather, I consider myself a passionate inquirer. I prefer raising questions as opposed to answering them, as I am totally unable to do otherwise. And I am not interested in creating works that simply state my personal political point of view."
Excerpts from an interview with Shirin Neshat by Gerald Matt published in an exhibition catalog, Shirin Neshat, Kunsthalle Wein, Wein, Germany and Serpentine Gallery, London, England, 2000.
"Soliloquy was not a biographical piece. It is based on my personal experience--this experience of course not being unique, as the globalization of the world and the rapid migration has uprooted many of us. . . . My family of course never completely understood the feeling of "dislocation" that I have experienced, since they were not with me. But after so many years of distance they have accepted that I will never completely come back. These are the types of subtle issues that I was hoping to bring up in Soliloquy: issues that are entirely based on emotions as opposed to facts."
Excerpt from an interview with Shirin Neshat on the online forum of the Carnegie International: 1999-2000.