36. Shirin Neshat

Neshat's elegant black-and-white photographs are imbued with a certain sense of somberness. Her latest filmic work, Women Without Men, debuted in 2009, and earned her the Silver Lion Award for best director at the Venice Film Festival. Book of Kings, her latest body of work, features the faces of a number of Iranian and Arab citizens (mostly youth) and was mounted at New York's Gladstone Gallery last year. The exhibition, described as being "suffused with humanity," was inspired by the waves of political uprising throughout the Arab world over the last year. The title is a reference to the ancient book of Shahnameh, the words of which have been inscribed over some of the faces of Neshat's sitters.

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Above: Roja, 2012