Shahzia Sikander wins MacArthur “Genius” Award

I really couldn’t be more pleased or proud that my longtime friend and fellow Pakistani New Yorker, Shahzia Sikander, has won a $500,000 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She is being characteristically humble about it, and seems more concerned about the class she is teaching this semester than celebrating. All of us here at 3QD send her our heartiest congratulations!

This is from the MacArthur Fellowship website:

Shahzia_2Shahzia Sikander
New York, New York
Age: 37

Shahzia Sikander is an artist whose visually striking, resonant works merge the traditional South Asian art of miniature painting with contemporary forms and styles.  Her art ranges from intimate watercolors to mural-scale wall paintings and multi-layered paper installations, from intricate photographs to bold juxtapositions of painting and digital animation.  Trained as a miniaturist at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander recasts the conventions of this centuries-old tradition and challenges notions about the division of art and craft.  While traversing cultural, geographic, and psychological boundaries and combining seemingly disparate formal elements, she skillfully expresses a respect for the distinctiveness of the cultures she explores.  The results are painstakingly detailed drawings and vibrantly hued paintings that reveal themselves over time and reflect profoundly on the relationship between the present and the past and the richness of multicultural identities.  In other projects, Sikander experiments with digital media to uproot the unity of her own miniatures and reposition their fragments with graceful movements of camera-work.  This artist’s constant rethinking of media and visual sources makes her work a fluid, elaborately rendered commentary on diasporic experiences and our ever-changing world.

More here. My sister Sughra had posted a painting by Shahzia here some time ago. Other past posts at 3QD about Shahzia are here, here, here, and here. Here’s a work by Shahzia:


from the porfolio
Medium: Color photogravure with sugar lift aquatint
Paper size: 18-1/4 x 14-1/2″
Image size: 10 x 7-1/2″
Paper: Somerset Satin Soft White
Edition: 25

And here is Shahzia’s official website. The other 2006 MacArthur Fellows can be seen here.