Shahzia Sikander

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Shahzia Sikander
Born1969 (age 49–50)
ResidenceNew York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materNational College of Arts Lahore, Rhode Island School of Design
Known forVisual Art, Contemporary art
AwardsMacArthur Fellowship
Websitehttp://www.shahziasikander.com/

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969, in Lahore, Pakistan) is a Pakistani-American visual artist. Sikander works across a variety of mediums, including drawing, painting, printmaking, animation, installation, performance and video. Sikander currently lives and works in New York City.

Education[edit]

Sikander studied at The National College of Arts Lahore in Pakistan, where she was taught the traditional discipline of Indo-Persian miniature painting.[1] She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1991.[2] Sikander moved to the United States and attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), earning a Master of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking in 1995.[3][4]

Early work and miniatures[edit]

Initially I explored the tension between illustration and fine art when I first encountered miniature painting in my late teens. Championing the formal aspects of the Indo-Persian miniature-painting genre has often been at the core of my practice.

— Shahzia Sikander, [5]

As an undergraduate student in Lahore, Shahzia Sikander studied the techniques of Persian and Mughal miniature painting, often integrating traditional forms of Mughal (Islamic) and Rajput (Hindu) styles and culture.[6] The traditional form of miniature painting requires equal measures of discipline, gesture and expression in order to execute a careful layering of color and detail. Compositionally, miniature paintings exhibit an extensive display of colorful imagery including, human forms, animals, patterns, shapes, dots and connecting lines. Miniature paintings often engage in contextual complexities such as, religious narrative, scenes of battles and court life. Sikander has integrated the techniques and forms of traditional miniature painting, relying on the layering of images and metaphor to drive her work. Her forms and figures exhibit a quality of continual morphing as transparent imagery is layered, providing a complexity with endless shifts in perception. Sikander's complex compositions "dismantle hierarchical assumptions and subverts the very notion of a singular, fixed identity of figures and forms." [7] The increasing approach of continual morphing explains Sikander's relationship to an ever-changing world where opposing societies coalescently interact.

The Scroll, 1992, is a semi-autobiographical manuscript painting in which Sikander included formal elements of historical manuscript painting.[8] The Scroll portrays scenes of everyday contemporary Pakistani life, including rituals that explore cultural and geographic traditions.[8] Many hues, patterns and incidents appear in The Scroll, identifying Sikander's attention to small detail, muted color palettes, and understanding of architectural elements juxtaposed with the intimacies of domestic culture.[8] The use of perspective is increasingly noticeable, exhibiting a linear movement of composition.[9] Common concerns of economics, imperialism, colonialism, sexualism and identity are also apparent in Sikander's early paintings.[10]

Sikander's attention to detail and formalism assist in the contextualization of her miniature paintings, stemming from an interest in labor, process and memory. Earlier paintings also include elements of Gopi, or the cowherd female devotees and lovers of the deity Krishna in Hindu mythology, while figures of men are depicted as "turbaned warriors."[11] The Gopi is portrayed in Sikander's early miniature paintings to "locate visual and symbolic forms within miniature painting that have the potential to generate multiple meanings." [12] Shahzia Sikander's most significant use of Gopi can be seen in a series of drawings and digital animation from 2003, titled Spinn. In the animation the characters multiply and their hair separates from their bodies, creating an abstracted form of hair silhouettes. Sikander explores the relationship between the present and the past, including the richness of multicultural identities. Integrated with both personal and social histories, her work invites multiple meanings, operating in a state of constant flux and transition.[13]

Digital animation[edit]

Drawing is a fundamental element of my process, a basic tool for exploration. I construct most of my work, including patterns of thinking, via drawing. Ideas housed on paper are often put into motion in the video animations, creating a form of disruption as a means to engage. I also stayed true to layering, a concept running throughout my practice. For the making of video animations, I went back to the fundamental use of ink drawings, crafting form out of color and gouache, scanning and threading them via movement. The breakdown of form also gives a stationary drawing the illusion of transformation, which as a topic has given me a lot of space to experiment and imagine throughout my work.

— Shahzia Sikander, [14]

Similarly to her miniature paintings, Sikander relies on the process of layering to create digital animation. Formal elements of technique, layering and movement of the digital animations help to unhinge the "absolute of contrasts such as Western/non-Western, past/present, miniature/scale." Sikander explains her appreciation for the process of layering in digital animation, allowing the narrative to remain suspended and open for reinterpretation. Sikander is very patient with her work, some taking months, even years to finish. Sikander states; "The purpose is to point out, and not necessarily define. I find this attitude a useful way to navigate the complex and often deeply rooted cultural and sociopolitical stances that envelop us twenty-four hours and day, seven days a week." [15]

Performance art and installations[edit]

I think context, location matters a lot. Because location obviously in my situation, it's the space in which the work is going to be exhibited. And since some of the work I do is created onsite, it requires a different type of space, versus the smaller drawings or more subject-oriented work. So that the context becomes important.

— Shahzia Sikander, [16]

As a female Muslim artist, Shahzia Sikander often had to endure stereotyping among her community. The veil (a scarf often worn by Muslim women) covers the hair and neck and is symbolic of both religion and womanhood. Sikander's miniature paintings often refer to the veil, exploring her own religious history and cultural identity. In a performance piece, Sikander wore an elaborate lace veil for several weeks while documenting the reaction of her peers. Sikander explains that the veil gave her an ultimate sense of security, stating that, "It was wonderful to not have people see my facial or body language, and at the same time be in control and know that they did not know I was acting, and checking their reaction."[17]

Imagines and histories of the traditional Muslim veil occur throughout Sikander's compositions. Her larger works are reminiscent of a centuries-old Indian practice in which women regularly paint figures all over the walls and floors of their houses, using "whole body" gestural movements. Sikander uses large drawings as the basis for her large-scale installations, often requiring months to complete. Nemesis, a site-specific installation at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, features a jewel-like paintings as small as six by eight inches and two animations.[18]

Exhibitions[edit]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

Select solo exhibitions
Year Name Location Type Notes
1993 Pakistan Embassy, Washington, D.C., United States Government gallery [19]
1996 Art Celebration 96: Shahzia Sikander Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston, Texas, United States Gallery [19]
1996 Knock Knock Who's There? Mithilia, Mithilia Who? Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas, United States Non-profit gallery [19]
1997 A Kind of Slight and Pleasing Dislocation Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, California, United States Gallery [19]
1997 Murals and Miniatures Deitch Projects, New York, New York, United States Gallery [19][20]
1998 Shahzia Sikander: Drawings and Miniatures Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, United States Museum [19]
1998 Shahzia Sikander The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States College gallery [21]
1999 Directions: Shahzia Sikander Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., United States Museum [21]
2000 Shahzia Sikander: Acts of Balance Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, New York, United States Museum [22][23][24]
2001 Intimacy ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas, United States Non-profit gallery [19]
2003 SpiNN Brent Sikkema, New York, New York, United States Gallery [19]
2003 Drawing to Drawing Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, California, United States Gallery
2004 Contemporary Links: Shahzia Sikander San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, United States Museum
2004 Shahzia Sikander: Flip Flop San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California, United States Museum This was a three-part installation.[25]
2004–2005 Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, United States Museum organized by Ian Berry and Jessica Hough[26]
2004 Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, United States Museum [26]
2005–2006 Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), Miami, Florida, United States Museum [27]
2005 Dissonance to Detour Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, California, United States College gallery
2005 51 Ways of Looking Brent Sikkema New York, New York, United States Gallery
2005 Shahzia Sikander: New Work Sikkema Jenkins & Co. New York, New York, United States Gallery [19]
2006 Shahzia Sikander: Solo Exhibition The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Museum [28]
2007 Shahzia Sikander Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland Museum [29]
2007–2008 Shahzia Sikander Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (MCA), Australia Museum [30]
2008 Intimate Ambivalence IKON Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom Gallery
2009 Stalemate Sikkema Jenkins & Co. New York, New York, United States Gallery [19]
2009 Shahzia Sikander Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. New York, New York, United States Museum [31]
2009 Shahzia Sikander: 'I am also not my own enemy' Pilar Corrias Gallery, London, United Kingdom Gallery [32]
2011 Shahzia Sikander: The Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, United States College gallery Curated by Hou Hanru[33][34]
2011 Shahzia Sikander: The Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions Bakalar & Paine Galleries, MassArt, Boston, Massachusetts, United States College gallery Curated by Hou Hanru[34]
2014 Shahzia Sikander: Parallax Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Umea, Sweden College gallery "Shahzia Sikander: Parallax" was first shown at this location, a multichannel video animation with original score.[35]
2015 Shahzia Sikander: Parallax Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain Museum a multichannel video animation with original score[36]
2016 Shahzia Sikander: Ecstasy As Sublime, Heart As Vector MAXXI, Rome, Italy Museum [37]

Group exhibitions[edit]

Select group exhibitions
Year Name Location Type Notes
1994 A Selection of Contemporary Paintings from Pakistan Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena, California, United States Museum [19]
2002 time/frame Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States College museum [38]
2002 Drawing Now: Eight Propositions Museum of Modern Art, Queens, New York, United States Museum [39]
2005 Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York, United States Museum [40]
2006 Dirty Yoga: The Fifth Taipei Biennial Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan Biennial [41]
2007 Global Feminisms Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, United States College museum Feminist art work from 1990 and onward, created in various art media including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, video, installation, and performance.[42][43]
2007 Global Feminisms Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States College Museum [44]
2007 Not For Sale MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York, United States Museum [45]
2008 Order. Desire. Light: An Exhibition of Contemporary Drawings Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin, Ireland Museum [46]
2009 Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), New York, New York, United States Museum [47]
2009 Moving Perspectives: Shahzia Sikander and Sun Xun Sackler Gallery, The Smithsonian, Washington D.C., United States Museum [48]

Awards and fellowships[edit]

  • 1995-1997- Core Fellowship, Glassel School of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston[49][better source needed]
  • 1997- The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award[4]
  • 1998- The Joan Mitchell Award[50]
  • 1999- South Asian Women's Creative Collective Achievement Award[49][better source needed]
  • 2003- Commendation Award, Mayor's Office, City of New York[49][better source needed]
  • 2005- Jennifer Howard Coleman Distinguished Lectureship and Residency[49][better source needed]
  • 2005- Tamgha-e-imtiaz, National Medal of Honor, Government of Pakistan[4]
  • 2006- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship[51]
  • 2006- Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum[4]
  • 2008- Performing and Visual Arts Achiever of the Year award presented by the South Asian Excellence Awards, 2008[49][better source needed]
  • 2009- Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Creative Arts Fellowship[49][better source needed]
  • 2012- U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts, Art in Embassies (AIE), United States State Department[52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jennifer, Noémie (2015-11-23). "Pakistani Art School Trains the Next Generation of Miniaturists". Creators. Vice. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  2. ^ "Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, born 1969". Diane Villani Editions. Retrieved 2017-07-09.
  3. ^ "Events: Gail Silver Memorial Lecture, Shahzia Sikander". RISD Museum. Rhode Island School of Design. 2016-10-01. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  4. ^ a b c d "TLAD Artist's Talk: Shahzia Sikander". RISD Academic Affairs. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  5. ^ Gupta, Anjali. "A Conversation with Shahzia Sikander". Interview. Linda Pace Foundation. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  6. ^ "Shahzia Sikander". About the Artist. Crown Point Press. Archived from the original on 15 October 2008. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  7. ^ Stich, Sidra (1 June 2011). "Shahzia Sikander @SFAI". Review. Square Cylinder.com. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Qureshi, Bilal. "Breaking The Mold: Artist's Modern Miniatures Remix Islamic Art.", NPR, Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  9. ^ Kunitz, Daniel (February 2002). "Exhibition note: Daniel Kunitz on "Inheriting Cubism: The Impact of Cubism on American Art," at Hollis Taggert Galleries & Shahzia Sikander in "Conversations with Traditions" at Asia Society". New Criterion. 20 (6): 40. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  10. ^ Chadwick, Whitney (2007). Women, Art and Society. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10110: Thames & Hudson Inc. p. 446. ISBN 978-0-500-20393-4.
  11. ^ Leffingwell, Edward (14 Jan 2006). "Shahzia Sikander at Brent Sikkema". Art in America. 94 (1): 119–120.
  12. ^ Vartanian, Ivan (2011). Justine Parker (ed.). Art Work: Seeing Inside the Creative Process. 680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107: Goliga Books, Inc. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8118-7128-0.
  13. ^ "Shahzia Sikander". Biography/ Press. Hostfelt Gallery. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  14. ^ Gupta, Anjali. "A Conversation with Shahzia Sikander". Interview. Linda Pace Foundation. Retrieved 10 June 2015.}
  15. ^ Vartanian, Ivan (2011). Justine Parker (ed.). Art Work: Seeing Inside the Creative Process. 680 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107: Goliga Books, Inc. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-8118-7128-0.
  16. ^ "Shahzia Sikander: Gods, Griffins and Cowboy Boots". Interview. MOMA: Red Studio. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  17. ^ Jepsen, Cara. "On Exhibit: Shahzia Sikander Makes Herself Clear". The Chicago Reader. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Opener 6: Shahzia Sikander- Nemesis". Tang Museum. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Shahzia Sikander Biography". artnet.com. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  20. ^ "Just In: A Seminal Watercolor by Shahzia Sikander". Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA). November 20, 2014. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  21. ^ a b "Shahzia Sikander". LANDMARKS. University of Texas, College of Fine Arts. 2018-08-06. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  22. ^ Shahzia Sikander: Acts of Balance. Frances Mulhall Achilles Library Whitney Museum of American Art. Whitney Museum of American Art. 2000.CS1 maint: others (link)
  23. ^ Cotter, Holland (2000-06-09). "ART IN REVIEW; Shahzia Sikander". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  24. ^ "Viewpoints: A Conversation with Shirin Neshat and Shahzia Sikander". Asia Society. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  25. ^ "Installation by Shahzia Sikander at SDMA". artdaily.com. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  26. ^ a b "Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis", Tang Museum, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  27. ^ "New Work: Shazia Sikander - Nemesis". www.pamm.org. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  28. ^ "Shahzia Sikander", Fabric Workshop and Museum, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Shahzia Sikander at the Irish Museum of Modern Art". artdaily.com. 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  30. ^ "Shahzia Sikander", Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  31. ^ "Shahzia Sikander Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection", Smithsonian Institution, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  32. ^ "Shahzia Sikander 'I am also not my own enemy' - Exhibition at Pilar Corrias in London". ArtRabbit. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  33. ^ "Shahzia Sikander's The exploding company man and other abstractions - Announcements". www.e-flux.com. April 22, 2011. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  34. ^ a b "Exploding Company Man and Other Abstractions", MassMoCA, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  35. ^ "Shahzia Sikander / Parallax". Bildmuseet, Umeå. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  36. ^ "Shahzia Sikander, Parallax", Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  37. ^ "Shahzia Sikander: Ecstasy as Sublime, Heart as Vector", MAXXI Museum, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  38. ^ "time/frame". Blanton Museum of Art. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  39. ^ "Drawing Now: Eight Propositions", MoMA, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  40. ^ "Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now", Queens Museum of Art, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  41. ^ ""Dirty Yoga: The Fifth Taipei Biennial" at Taipei Fine Arts Museum". Artforum.com. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  42. ^ "Global Feminisms", Brooklyn Museum, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  43. ^ Smith, Roberta (2007-03-23). "Global Feminisms - Art - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  44. ^ "Global Feminisms". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2018-12-27.
  45. ^ "Not for Sale", MoMA PS1, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  46. ^ "Order. Desire. Light.", Irish Museum of Modern Art, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  47. ^ "Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Foundation", Museum of Modern Art, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  48. ^ "Moving Perspectives: Shahzia Sikander and Sun Xun", Smithsonian Institution, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  49. ^ a b c d e f "Shahzia Sikander CV from Sean Kelly Gallery Website".
  50. ^ "Joan Mitchell Foundation - Painters & Sculptors Program", Joan Mitchell Award, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  51. ^ "MacArthur Foundation - Shahzia Sikander", MacArthur Foundation, Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  52. ^ "Art World To Celebrate U.S. Department of State's Art in Embassies' 50th Anniversary", U.S. Department of State, Retrieved 26 December 2018.

Further reading[edit]