Passage, a film by the internationally recognized artist Shirin Neshat (b. 1957) will be presented in the Video Gallery (179) of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from November 5, 2002 to January 26, 2003.
Born in Qazvin, Iran, Neshat came to the United States in 1974, at the age of 17, to study at the University of California. Passage belongs to a group of videos that she began in 1993 shortly after her first return visit to her native country since the 1979 revolution. A stranger to her culture, she was struck by the sight of women in the head-totoe black chador that had become required attire. Deeply affected by her homeland's radical transformation, she embarked on a body of highly dramatic videos exploring the status of women in Islam.
Passage, an 11 ½ minute video, follows the dream-like rituals of a funeral procession in a desert setting, enacted by men and women and watched by a young girl. Shot with an Iranian crew on the coast of Morocco, Passage cuts between these actors to develop a drama from its starkly simple setting and actions. Accompanied by an original musical score by Philip Glass, Passage was one of six films commissioned by Glass for the Lincoln Center series "Philip on Film" in summer 2001. The wordless drama confronts the viewer with his or her own responses to the spectacle.
Neshat currently lives in New York City, and has exhibited her photographs and films internationally, including at Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002); Whitney Biennial (2000); and The Venice Biennale (1999).