Shirazeh Houshiary is an Iranian artist who is currently based in London. She left Iran in 1974, studying at the Chelsea School of Art from 1976 to 1979 and then holding a junior fellowship at Cardiff College of Art from 1979 to 1980. During the 1980s, Houshiary quickly established herself as one of the leading artists of her generation working in Britain. Initially known for her sculpture, she widened her work to include painting and drawing.
Her work is distinguished by its infusion of her Persian background with Western art forms, deriving inspiration from Sufi doctrine, ancient Persian writings, mathematics, philosophy, religion, art, and astronomy. Throughout her work is a desire to symbolize the universal quest for spiritual union.
Houshiary has exhibited around the world, at the XXIII Bienal de São Paulo and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in 1996; Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, in 1998; Basel in 2000; Rooseum Malmo, Sweden, in 2002; Sculpture Biennial Münsterland and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, in 2003, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in 2004; and Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2006. She was short-listed for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery in 1994, and was named a professor at the London Institute in 1997.