Shirin Neshat is a contemporary Iranian visual artist best known for her work in photography, video, and film (such as her 1999 film Rapture),which explore the relationship between women and the religious and cultural value systems of Islam. She has said that she hopes the viewers of her work “take away with them not some heavy political statement, but something that really touches them on the most emotional level.” Born on March 26, 1957 in Qazin, Iran, she left to study in the United States at the University of California at Berkeley before her the Iranian Revolution in 1979. While her early photographs were overtly political, her film narratives tend to be more abstract, focusing around themes of gender, identity, and society. Her Women of Allah series, created in the mid-1990s, introduced themes of the discrepancies of public and private identities in both Iranian and Western cultures. The split-screened video Turbulent (1998) won Neshat the First International Prize at the Venice Biennale in 1999. The artist currently lives and works in New York, NY. Her works are included in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.