Since the early 1990s, Shahzia Sikander has been instrumental in the rediscovery, re-infusion, and re-contextualization of Indo-Persian miniature painting. Trained as a miniaturist at the National College of Arts, Lahore, Sikander has pioneered an experimental approach to the anachronistic genre. Encompassing painting; drawing; animation; installation; video, and film Sikander’s multi-dimensional praxis radically rearticulates the miniaturist tradition by inserting new dialogue that is often subversive and polemical in nature. Working from a rich ‘mental archive of imagery’, Sikander’s visual vocabulary engages a multiplicity of themes including transformation as narrative, the exploration of disruption as a means to cultivate new associations, and issues concerning labour, scale and time.
Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan. She received her B.FA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and an M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Major solo exhibitions of Sikander’s work include: Parallax, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu (2017); Ecstasy As Sublime, Heart As Vector, MAXXI | Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome (2016); Parallax, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (2015); Parallax, Bildmuseet Umea, Sweden (2014); Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio (2012-13); Kogod Courtyard at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC (2012); Transformations, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2010); Para/Site, Hong Kong (2009); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2008); daadgalerie, Berlin (2008); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2007); Miami Art Museum, Miami (2005); Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2004); The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego (2004); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (2000), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1999) and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (1998). Major group exhibitions include: Karachi Biennale, Karachi (2017); Performing Time, Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai (2016); If you were to live here…, The 5th Auckland Triennial, Auckland (2013); Sharjah Biennale 11, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah (2013); Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou (2012); Women In-Between: Asian Women Artists 1984-2012, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka (2012); Patria o Libertad! On Patriotism, Immigration and Populism, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2011); Future Pass: From Asia to the World, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice (2011); Gifts of the Sultan: The Arts of Giving at the Islamic Courts, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2011); Monumental ‘Miniatures’: Large-scale Paintings from India, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2010); One Image May Hide Another: Arcimboldo-Dali-Raetz, Galeries Nationals du Grand Palais, Paris (2009); Order. Desire. Light. : An Exhibition of Contemporary Drawings, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2008); Take 2: Women Revisiting Art History, SFMoMA, San Francisco (2007).
Sikander has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including the Shahneela and Farhan Faruqui Popular Choice Art Prize at the Karachi Biennale (2017), the Inaugural Medal of Art, US Department of State (2012), John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Achievement award (2006-2011); the National Pride of Honor by the Pakistani Government (2005), the Joan Mitchell award (1998-999), and the Tiffany foundation award (1997). In 2006 Sikander was a named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Shahzia Sikander lives and works in New York.