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Join Shahzia Sikander for an intimate virtual tour and discussion on her newest exhibit Weeping Willows, Liquid Tongues at Sean Kelly gallery in New York City.
Shahzia Sikander takes classical Indo-Persian miniature painting as the point of departure for her work. From premodern beginnings to contemporary influences, it is precisely this historical continuum and its continuous capacity for reinvention that has sparked Sikander’s visually rich engagement in multiple media. The works in the exhibition explore tensions between power and powerlessness to present transformative ideas. Sikander's interest in sociology, psychoanalysis, and the examination of how culture and society shape the imagination is all fodder for her work. The ways in which violence, systemic racism, class and cultural fears are deeply entrenched in media and political representations, be it the fear of the unknown, the migrant, the immigrant, the Muslim, the LGBTQ community, the ‘other’ and the various fault lines of race, class and gender also intersect within her work. In this tangled web, the extractive nature of capitalism appears to promise liberty and happiness, but too often bestows debt and despair.
In the first session of this program, Shahzia Sikander will lead a virtual tour of the exhibit and will be joined by Jason Rosenfeld for a conversation about the works in the show. Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron will lead a discussion with Shahzia in the second session where they will discuss themes of feminism in Sikander’s work.
This program will take place live online with an opportunity to interact with the speakers. Sessions will be recorded and made available for patrons for later viewing as well.
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Shahzia Sikander, born in Lahore, Pakistan, received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan …
Shahzia Sikander, born in Lahore, Pakistan, received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, where she underwent rigorous training under master miniaturist Bashir Ahmed. The first student Ahmed invited to teach alongside him, she subsequently became the first artist from the Miniature Painting Department at the NCA to challenge the medium’s technical and aesthetic framework. Sikander’s breakthrough work, The Scroll (1989-90), received national critical acclaim in Pakistan, winning the prestigious Shakir Ali and Haji Sharif awards for excellence in miniature painting and launching the medium into the forefront of the NCA’s program. Sikander moved to the United States in 1993 to pursue her MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, which she completed in 1995.
Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Shahzia Sikander ’s pioneering practice takes classical Indo-Persian miniature painting as its point of departure and challenges the strict formal tropes of the genre by experimenting with scale and various forms of new media. Informed by South Asian, American, Feminist and Muslim perspectives, Sikander has developed a unique, critically charged approach to this time-honored medium – employing its continuous capacity for reinvention to interrogate ideas of language, trade and empire, and migration. Trained as a miniaturist at the National College of Arts, Lahore, where her thesis project, the Scroll, launched what has come to be called the neo-miniature and where she was the first woman to teach miniature painting her works encompass painting, drawing, animation, installation, video and film.
Shahzia Sikander will be the subject of a traveling exhibition titled Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities which will open at The Morgan Library, New York in June 2021 followed by the RISD Museum, Rhode Island in November 2021, and MFA Houston, Texas in Spring 2022. On the occasion of these exhibitions, there will be a major new monograph printed. Extraordinary Realities, is an exhaustive examination of Sikander’s work from 1987 to 2003, charting her early development as an artist in Lahore and the United States, and foregrounding her critical role in bringing miniature painting into dialogue with contemporary art. Edited by Jan Howard and Sadia Abbas, with contributions by Gayatri Gopinath, Faisal Devji, Kishwar Rizvi, Sadia Abbas, Jan Howard, Vasif Kortun, Dennis Congdon, Bashir Ahmed, Rick Lowe and Julie Mehretu.
Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron joined the Cincinnati Art Museum as Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities in 2017 …
Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron joined the Cincinnati Art Museum as Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities in 2017. Cameron completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford in 2010, her MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and BA in Archaeology and History at the University of Toronto. Cameron has extensive experience in curatorial practice, having previously held positions at institutions including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the British Museum. She has published, delivered lectures, and organized exhibitions exploring the courtly painting traditions and decorative arts of India and the Islamic world, the history of museum collection formation, and contemporary art and artists from South Asia and the diaspora.
In Cameron’s role at the Cincinnati Art Museum, she is responsible for the acquisition, research, and display of the museum’s South Asian, Ancient Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Antiquities collections. Recent projects include the exhibitions Women Breaking Boundaries (11 Oct 2019 to 12 Apr 2020), Women Breaking Boundaries version 2.0 (18 Sep 2020 to 10 Jan 2021) and Collecting Calligraphy: Arts of the Islamic World (8 Sep 2018 to 27 Jan 2019). Upcoming projects include an exhibition exploring the visual arts of dance in South and Southeast Asia and a largescale gallery reinstallation project titled Re-envisioning the Art and Architecture of the Ancient Middle East funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Jason Rosenfeld, PhD, is Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College, New York …
Jason Rosenfeld, PhD, is Distinguished Chair and Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College, New York, and a Senior Writer and Editor-at-Large at The Brooklyn Rail. He has recently co-authored a monograph on Cecily Brown for Phaidon (2020). He was curator of Ben Wilson: From Social Realism to Abstraction, at the George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University, New Jersey (2017); co-curator of the exhibition River Crossings at Cedar Grove, the Thomas Cole National Historical Site, in Catskill, New York, and Olana, in Hudson, New York (2015); co-curator of Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde at Tate Britain, London, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, the Mori Arts Center Gallery, Tokyo, and the Palazzo Chiablese, Turin (2012-2014); and co-curator of John Everett Millais at Tate Britain, the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukuoka, and the Bunkamura Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2007-2008). He curated Stephen Hannock: Moving Water, Fleeting Light at Marlborough Fine Art, London (2014). He is also the author of a monograph on John Everett Millais (Phaidon, 2012).