A Pakistani artist and painter specializes in Indian and Persian miniature painting fused the traditional style that is highly schematic and methodical, merges the contemporary issues of Indo-Persian identity with her artistries. Shahzia Sikander’s miniature paintings reinvent the genre, blending the eastern methodology and centring meticulousness with a western inclination toward creative and particular expression triggered the experimental approach to the antiquated art category, encompassing painting, animation, drawing, installations, video, and film, her multi-dimensional praxis reshapes the miniaturist tradition injecting new conversation. Practising and working with the rich and plentiful mental archive of imagery, Shahzia’s pictorial language employs a multiplicity of themes includes, exploration of distraction, vocal as a narrative to develop association and portraying minimal abstraction, acted as a bridge between two cultures.
Born in Lahore Pakistan in 1969, Shahzia earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National College of Arts Lahore in 1991, studied the traditional discipline of Indo-Persian miniature painting later she moved to the United States and done Master of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. Rose as a Muslim in the western part of Indian culture, religiously influenced by middle-eastern norms; interested in exploring either side of Hindu and Muslim perimeters, combine imagery in single painting from both extremes such as Muslim veil and Hindu multi-armed goddess. Shahzia’s innovative artwork leads her to star internationally with her critical driven approach with continuous reinvention to examine ideas of language, relocation, trade, and domain; with a scale of media.
Shahzia Sikander’s “The Scroll” was created as her thesis project presents a miniature painting of foot high and five feet long interconnected semi-autobiographical manuscript painting depicts personal imagery and daily life of the artist ought to have been princely judges and idyllic pastures. The murals depict the recurring figure in The Scroll is a young woman dressed in white with black hair painted from behind with intentionally invisible face, passes through multiple rooms filled with activity and at the end she is painting herself. Defining the miniature, she explained woman as an observer who is not necessarily uncomfortable in that environment. Shahzia’s painting draws attention to the smaller details, understanding of architectural elements juxtaposed domestic culture.
The animation by the artist assisted with the contextualization of her miniature painting style rooted in traditional Persian miniature painting. The representation of Imperial Mughal Court with flocking particles rising of silhouettes of hair from the “Gopi”, a female disciple of the god Krishna in Hindu Mythology. The portrayal of Gopi can be seen in a series, one titled as “SpiNN”. In the animation, she explored the relationship defining the diversity and richness of multicultural identities integrated with social histories her work elaborates the duality and complexity of visual meaning which nurtures in constant evolution and mutability.
Combing her signature style of miniature painting to the modernized digital technology, Shahzia’s digital animation formulates the process of layering and elements of techniques helped to madden the entire contrasts such as past and present, western and non-western, and miniature and scale.
Shahzia Sikander “Parallax” project on wide curving screen canvased from her own painting in watercolour and ink, mutating forms, disruptive detail, and dowsing shades and evocative soundtrack added life and meaning to it, with collaboration with composer Du Yun help viewers inspection n and interaction to the artiste visualization and portrayal. The title describes the definition of multiple views of the same thing taken to the realistic and yet incommensurable depicts the multi-stage interpretation of experiencing the whole tranquillity.
The artwork itself invades demurrals because the visualization and demonstration are acoustically charismatic, sweeps the viewers into the realm of swirling vagueness. Shahzia’s visual aesthetic methodically dismantles the prevalent cultural acceptance and rearrange in to generate new associations.
Utilizing various media to question the issues of the cross border and subverting the stereotypes of the East and Eastern Woman, Shahzia accredited as Pakistan’s most cerebral artist who has changed the pattern and discourse of art with her intrusion into fading artwork replacing it with unconventional techniques and thoughts. Over the span of twenty-five years, her artwork exhibits in numerous solo and group exhibitions. She is a recipient of multiple awards, grants, and fellowships, including Tiffany Foundation Award, John Mitchell Award, and National Pride of Honor by Pakistani Government, Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Creative Arts Fellowship, and inaugural Medal of Art US Department of State. She is currently residing and works in New York. Her works are held in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Shazia Sikander Documnetry, Shazia Sikander Artworks