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Audubon Parrots

Thursday 9 May 2013 Bearing witness


The remarkable escape this week of three women from their kidnappers in Cleveland, Ohio highlights the issue of liberty and what happens when you take away someone’s freedom. One of the functions art can perform is bearing witness, and in so doing it can expose injustice, oppression and cruelty.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is currently exhibiting work by Iranian American artist Shirin Neshat. Her photography and video installations examine, amongst other themes, the nature and role of women in Iran as well as challenging Western preconceptions of the position of women in Islamic society. This mid-career retrospective at the DIA spans about two decades and includes the film Women without Men which won the Silver Lion award at the Venice Film Festival in 2009. Neshat’s work is in part an art of testament, exploring the cultural and social restrictions imposed on women in Iran since the 1979 revolution and providing a view into the political and social realities that face Muslim women around the world.
Australian artist Richard Bell uses his medium to highlight oppression and to express the daily realities of the deprivation of liberty. His work grew out of his activism in the Aboriginal civil rights movement and includes stunning canvases and video installations. The travelling exhibition Richard Bell: Uz vs. Them closes this week in Indiana, but you can see his engaging, arresting, confrontational work in our book of the same name.
If you can’t get to Detroit before 7 July, when the Neshat exhibition closes, you can download the app we’ve developed with the DIA. It includes interactive presentations of still images, video clips, biographical information and an interview with the artist. It’s free to download, and is available for iPad and Android tablets. Free Download from Apple's App Store; Free Download from Google Play

Shirin Neshat at the Detroit Institute of Arts Shirin Neshat at the Detroit Institute of Arts Tablet App
Rebecca Ruth Hart, Curator

GILES author in prize controversy

GILES launches first iPad app

Richard Bell exhibition opens in Denver

Richard Bell: Uz vs Them moves to Kentucky

Richard Bell show opens at Tufts University

Controversial artist Richard Bell in the news again

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