With support from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Shirin Neshat created a series of portraits titled Our House is On Fire, a project that explored Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The foundation is donating two limited edition prints from this series to thirty-three colleges and universities around the world.
“Neshat's project embodies Rauschenberg’s own belief that art could change the dialogue for challenging international issues,” said Christy MacLear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. “Our goal with this donation is to encourage dialogue about the portraits’ artistic, cultural, and political value while also creating an opportunity for academic departments to collaborate with school museums and galleries.”
The selected institutions submitted proposals on how they would incorporate the portraits into their curriculum in a way that was committed to using them to foster challenging conversations on a range of issues. A few innovative ideas include displaying the prints in Columbia Law School and using them as case studies for human rights issues, and hosting a panel discussion on Christianity, Islam, and Judaism at University of Pennsylvania.