When exiled Iranian artist Shirin Neshat first discussed photographing the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, someone suggested “The Mourners” as the project’s title. But for Neshat, who loves ambiguity, “The Mourners” was just “too direct, too obvious.” Instead, she opted for a “Our House Is On Fire,” a line taken from the poem “A Cry” by Iranian poet, Mehdi Akhavan Sales. Combining Iranian poetry with Egypt’s “dark, disturbing political reality” Neshat formed an intentional paradox consistent throughout her latest collection of photographs. She spoke with The Washington Post’s She The People about its inspiration and her recent recognition at the World Economic Forum. “Our House Is On Fire” can be viewed in full at the Rauschenberg Project Space in New York through March 1.
Ahmed, from the "Our House Is on Fire" series. “It was such a demanding task to ask these Egyptians to open up to strangers,” Neshat said. “I tried not to be too invasive.” Shirin Neshat Buy Photo