Shirin Neshat is an Iranian visual artist who was born in Qazvin, Iran, educated in Berkeley, California and is currently based in New York. Her earliest work as a photographer was born out of a trip back to Iran in 1993 where she explored concepts of exile and identity under a feminine lens. In the late nineties, she devoted herself to a series of stark, black and white video installations that referenced contradictions of gender in society. Breaking away from photography, she turned to cinema and directed her first feature-length film, “Women Without Men,” which won the 2009 Venice Film Festival Silver Lion award for best directing. Most recently, Neshat was honored by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland with a 2014 Crystal Award. The award is given annually to artists who have made contributions to improving the state of the world.