National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens

Shirin Neshat



The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition

Audiovisual Media

Video installation

from the series Women without Men
Video installation with three synchronised channels, colour, with sound
Duration: 13΄35΄΄
Edition 1/6
Loan from Hellenic Cultural Organisation (HCO) to EMST, within the framework of the Cultural Olympiad
Inv. No. 541/04
Mahdokht © 2004 Shirin Neshat

Mahdokht is the first of five parallel stories in Women without Men (2004–2008), a series by Shirin Neshat based on the surrealistic novel of the same title by the Iranian writer Shahrnush Parsipur, which was banned in Iran in 1989. The novel unfolds in 1953, the year the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown by a coup d’état backed by the Americans and the British. Women without Men consists of five video & sound installations and tells the stories of five Iranian women who are fighting for survival and freedom in an autocratic men’s society full of cultural, social and sexual taboos, and strict rules. The five women’s lives come together in an orchard where they find temporary refuge in their struggle to escape their past. Mahdokht is a middle-aged solitary woman who fears sexuality but yearns for fertility. Ultimately, she chooses to abandon her human body and plant herself as a tree so that, despite her virginity, she may bear fruits and disseminate her seeds in the universe.
Eleni Ganiti, ENTER EMST: Collection and history, A short guide, 2020

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