Examine aspects of formal analysis in "Rebellious Silence" by  Shirin Neshat.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Much of the limited formal analysis of Neshat's work centers on the role of women in traditional Islam.  Critics point to how her works such as "Rebellious Silence" does much to open "a pictorial discourse between feminism and contemporary Islam."  In particular, formal analysis focuses on question of the gun located at the center of the woman, almost dividing her in half.  The relationship between the woman, the gun, and the notion of traditional Islam, as represented by her appearance, helps to enhance this aspect.  Formal analysis tends to focus on the statement that Neshat seeks to make in this dialogue, one that sees her more  "not as an expert" but as a "passionate researcher."  

This is an issue that drives much of the analysis about her work.  "Rebellious Silence" begins to initiate dialogue within a sector where there is much in way of silence.  The role of women, the presence of violence within the Muslim world, and the collision between modernity and tradition are small paths of discourse that are opened.  It is here in which there is discourse evident and where much of the formal analysis of the photograph lies.