The picture, made of ink on a resin-coated print, comes from Neshat’s series “Women of Allah,” which she made in the 1990s after her first trip to Iran after the revolution. Four symbolic elements help build the series’s melancholic beauty, Neshat explains in the book where we found this image: “the veil, the gun, the text and the gaze.” The missing gun renders this picture more timeless than most of the others, and something similar is at work in its text. “Although the Farsi words written on the works’ surfaces may seem like a decorative device,” Neshat writes, “they contribute significant meaning. The texts are amalgams of poems and prose works mostly by contemporary women writers in Iran. These writings embody sometimes diametrically opposing political and ideological views, from the entirely secular to fanatic Islamic slogans of martyrdom and self-sacrifice to poetic, sensual and even sexual meditations.