Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Eye-I-ing Those Armorial Bearings, 1989–97 Vegetable ... [+] THE COLLECTION OF CAROL AND ARTHUR GOLDBERG, © SHAHZIA SIKANDER. COURTESY: THE ARTIST AND SEAN KELLY, NEW YORK.
One year ago on July 4th, the skin of New York City art lovers was crawling. Sheltering in place with museums and galleries shut down, the community’s ability to see great art in person had been taken away. It was one of Covid-19’s lesser abuses, but a loss none the less to those for whom the arts are a lifeline.
One year later, the city’s museums and galleries are open, operating safely, welcoming visitors. Take advantage by channeling the art cravings of July 2020 into a full-on arts binge around New York this 4th.
Most of Shahzia Sikander paintings on view now at the Morgan Library and Museum are no larger than a legal sized sheet of paper. They pack a wallop despite their diminutive scale.
Sikander was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1969. She became widely celebrated in her home nation for reinvigorating the centuries old manuscript painting tradition. The fame she achieved for her manuscript painting–also known as miniature painting–was unknown to her classmates and teachers when she arrived at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 to further her training.
It didn’t take long before the striking originality of her subject, format, scale and execution garnered attention in the U.S. In 1997, she was invited to show at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. She moved to the city that same year and continues living there.
Synthesizing Eastern and Western traditions, Sikander has differentiated herself among contemporary artists by providing unique visual imagery exploring politics, gender and customary notions of beauty.