Shahzia Sikander has embraced the tradition of miniature painting from her native Pakistan. She is pioneering a revival of the form by combining the traditional motifs and techniques with her own personal visions, politics, and sexuality. The resulting hybrid uses as its main formal device a version of the Surrealist's collage/juxtaposition principal, while her concerns tend toward the role of women in Islamic society. Recently, the artist has enlarged her working canvas from the miniature (i.e. 6 x 8 in.)to the wall mural. This show consists of both exquisitely rendered miniatures and mural-sized wall paintings (shown here: 'Anchor 1997' acrylic on wall).

Excerpts from the Deitch Projects press release for this show:
"The way that Sikander uses the miniature tradition as a structure for visual diversity reflects the multicultural traditions of Pakistan. The culture incorporates both Muslim and Hindu elements and the strong infuence of Persia. There is also the legacy of the British Colonial period. Sikander's work, like contemporary Pakistani society, has elements that are Muslim, Hindu, Persian, Indian, and European. Sikander points out how she incorporates such things as Celtic imagery in her work."

"The image of the woman is central to Sikander's work. Her work explores both her personal identity and broader cultural identity. She plays with cultural forms as they affect women's identity as in painting a Muslim veil over the face of a Hindu goddess. Her imaginative use of materials such as tea also refers to feminine issues. In Pakistan, making tea is an essential part of the woman's role. Painting the gallery wall with tea connects the work with strong memories of traditional family life in her native country."

"Shahzia Sikander's work was included in the 1997 Whitney Biennial exhibition. This is Sikander's first solo exhibition in New York."

Shahzia Sikander
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