Muslim Artist, Shahzia Sikander 

Published: 2021-07-06 23:15:30
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Shahzia Sikander is a contemporary Pakistani-American artist. Currently residing in New York City, the artist was born in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1969 (McCarthy 147). However, her artistic practice constantly moves easily between the boundaries and borders, depicting her as a transitional artist with shifting identities. Sikander joined the National College of Arts in Pakistan, where she learnt the customary course of Indo-Persian miniature painting (McCarthy 148). Later, she earned her Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995.Sikander works in numerous art mediums such as painting, animation, drawing, printmaking, performance, and video, large-scale installation, and sculpture, and fuses customary Indo-Persian miniature painting with simple abstraction (Schulenberg 14). As such, her artwork creates an artistic bridge between two cultures and styles (Islamic and Hindu). The customary type of miniature painting necessitates equal levels of discipline, expression, and gesture to achieve a meticulous layering of color and detail. In terms of composition, Sikander’s miniature paintings shows an extensive spectacle of colorful imagery comprising animals, human forms, shapes, and patterns (Schulenberg 17). The paintings usually engage in contextual complexities like court life, religious narratives, and battle scenes.Sikander has received several awards such as the Shakir Ali Award from the National College of Arts in 1993, and the 1999 Joan Mitchell Award. However, according to McCarthy, her greatest achievement was the MacArthur Fellows Program award of 2006 (150).Religion, Muslim in particular, plays a major role in Sikander’s work due to her staunch Muslim beliefs. She explores, through her work, how the western way of life challenges Muslim women, as an experiment to establish how the tradition affect the westerners (Schulenberg 22). Additionally, she imparts some social and political views that the Muslim society considers impersonal as well as disciplined custom.Works CitedMcCarthy, Robert. “Miniaturizing Modernity: Shahzia Sikander in Conversation with Homi K. Bhabha.” Public Culture 11.1 (1999): 146-150.Schulenberg, Anneke. Beyond borders. The work of Ghada Amer, Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat, and Shahzia Sikander. sl: sn, 2015.

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