ORLANDO, Fla – The Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) is delighted to announce the acquisition of two new works, one by internationally renowned artist Shirin Neshat, and one by celebrated mid-career artist Deborah Roberts.

Shirin Neshat (Iranian, b. 1957), who is acclaimed for her work exploring the complexities of gender, religion, cultural values and democracy in the Middle East, has lived in exile in New York since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. She gained prominence in 1995 with her iconic series of black and white, calligraphy-overlaid photographs. Neshat’s Nida (Patriots), from The Book of Kings series (2012) is inspired by the 60,000-verse poem "Shahnameh" written in the 11th century by the Persian poet Ferdowsi, and which narrates Persian history up to the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century. Shirin Neshat relates this ancient book to the Arab Spring and to the Iranian Green Movement, which brought hundreds of thousands on to the streets all over Iran in 2009 in protest against the country’s repressive regime. The acquisition of Nida is a brilliant opportunity for OMA to present one of Neshat’s best recent works, building on themes that are reminiscent of her earlier work in the 1990s, in a new series with a fresh contemporary perspective.

Deborah Roberts (American, b. 1962) is a mixed media artist whose work challenges notions of beauty, vulnerability and affirmation, particularly in the context of African American women, young boys and girls. In the past year or so, Roberts has received a steadily increasing level of national and international attention. She has received prestigious awards, including a residency with the Rauschenberg Foundation, and her work has been presented in important museum exhibitions. Acquiring Speak (2018) by Deborah Roberts reflects OMA’s commitment to identifying and supporting today’s most progressive artists as well as continuing OMA’s mission to promote diversity and addressing issues around race and gender.

Both works were purchased by the Orlando Museum of Art with funds provided by Acquisition Trust (AT), a membership-based organization that contributes annual dues to fund the acquisition of contemporary art produced after 1970. Since its founding in 1984, AT has provided funding for the acquisition of 54 works of art for the museum’s permanent collection helping to make it one the most significant museum collections in the state and creating a lasting legacy for the people of Central Florida.  The OMA’s Contemporary Art Collection includes artwork by internationally recognized artists such as Kerry James Marshall, Robert Rauschenberg, Nick Cave, John Chamberlain, Elizabeth Murray, Robin Rhode, Pat Steir, Jennifer Bartlett, Mel Kendrick, Tom McGrath and Therman Statom.

Outstanding museum collections are the direct result of philanthropic generosity within a community, and the Orlando Museum of Art is grateful to its proactive Acquisition Trust and the community at large for investing in the arts.

Lede image credit: 
(LEFT) Shirin Neshat, Nida (Patriots), from The Book of Kings Series, 2012, ink on LE silver gelatin print, 60 x 45 in. Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust. © 2012 Shirin Neshat. Image courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York; (RIGHT) Deborah Roberts, Speak, 2018, mixed media collage on paper, 38 x 38 in. Purchased with funds provided by the Acquisition Trust. © 2018 Deborah Roberts. Image courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, LLC.

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