November 25, 2007

Shahzia Sikander in Sydney

"Shahzia Sikander," Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia. Through February 17. Visit her website.

Shahzia Sikander studied painting in the Indo- Persian miniaturist tradition before relocating to New York in 1993 from Pakistan. Her paintings, characterized by precise line and delicate touch, have a distinctive iconography that references history, mythology and popular culture, although she denies the imagery relates to her own experience. In 2006, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship. In The Australian, Lauren Wilson reports that Sikander has been influenced by post-colonial theory and seeks to challenge the stereotypical opposition of east versus west. Despite the theoretical influences and academic research that inform her paintings, Sikander insists that aesthetics and intuition are more important than theory.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Louise Schwartzkoff reports that Sikander is creating a huge temporary mural at the museum's entrance in conjunction with the show. "To paint a three-metre-high mural on the entrance wall at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, the New York artist Shahzia Sikander is clambering on scaffolding and painting from scissor lifts to reach the highest corners. The work will take three weeks to complete, but will remain on the wall for less than two months. When Sikander's first Australian exhibition closes in February, the MCA will paint over her delicate shapes and swirling lines. 'That's just part and parcel of the work I do,' she said. 'It's quite ephemeral and it has a temporary relationship to the location.'" Read more.

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