Shirin Neshat writes in The Art Newspaper:
With the Islamic revolution (1979) and the political isolation that followed, Iran fell into a deep cultural crisis. Artists were suddenly faced with a dictatorship that essentially denied artistic freedom of expression, imposed severe Islamic codes and made Western culture taboo. As the borders closed and new boundaries were established by the government, artists had no choice but to look inward to their imagination, to transform this isolation into an artistic resolution. Consequently, we have seen an outpouring of artistic production in literature, film, theatre, visual arts and music. We find bold attempts by artists who have not only challenged the authority, but have pioneered an authentically Iranian, non-Western aesthetic; which, while remaining mindful of the crippling social, political and religious realities of their country, aims at transcending national boundaries, to become universally significant.