Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities at The Morgan Library & Museum, June 18 – September 26, 2021

“Born in Lahore in 1969, Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander is internationally celebrated for bringing manuscript painting traditions from South and Central Asia into dialogue with contemporary art practice. This exhibition includes nearly 60 works borrowed from public and private collections and tracks the first fifteen years of her artistic journey, from her groundbreaking deconstruction of manuscript painting in Pakistan to the development of a new personal vocabulary at the Rhode Island School of Design, expanded explorations around identity as a Core Fellow at the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and her global outlook during her first years in New York. During this period, Sikander richly interrogated gender, sexuality, race, class, and history, creating open-ended narratives that have sustained her as one of the most significant artists working today.” — The Morgan Library & Museum  

The Morgan’s Director, Colin B. Bailey, said, “We are delighted to present the work of internationally renowned Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander at the Morgan Library & Museum. Her synthesis of Eastern and Western traditions has differentiated her practice among contemporary artists and provided a unique visual vocabulary for exploring politics, gender, and archetypes of beauty. Her work is resonant with the Indo-Persian Miniature tradition represented in the Morgan’s collection, and we look forward to collaborating with her in an exhibition that throws light on her creative process during the formative years of her career, as well providing the setting for a new site-specific installation.” 

Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Mirrat I, 1989–90. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, gold leaf, and tea on paper; 48.3 × 40.6 cm. Collection of the artist. © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. The Scroll, 1989–90. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 34.3 × 162.2 cm. Collection of the Artist, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. The Scroll (detail), 1989–90. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 34.3 × 162.2 cm. Collection of the Artist, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. The Scroll (detail), 1989–90. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 34.3 × 162.2 cm. Collection of the Artist, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Separate Working Things I, 1993–95. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, gold (paint), and tea on wasli paper; 24 × 16.6 cm. Private Collection, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969 Hood’s Red Rider, No. 2, 1997. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, gold (paint), and tea on wasli paper; 26.1 × 18.3 cm. Collection of Susan and Lew Manilow © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Uprooted Order, Series 3, No. 1, 1997. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 16.8 × 9.2 cm. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Joseph Havel and Lisa Ludwig, 2003.728, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Eye-I-ing Those Armorial Bearings, 1989–97 Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 22 × 14.7 cm. The Collection of Carol and Arthur Goldberg, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Who’s Veiled Anyway?, 1997. Transparent and opaque watercolor, tea, graphite pencil, and charcoal on wasli paper; 28.6 × 20.6 cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Drawing Committee, 97.83.1, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Pleasure Pillars, 2001. Vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 43.2 x 30.5 cm. Collection of Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. Intimacy, 2001. Dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper; 21.6 x 27.9 cm. Collection of Jeanne and Michael Klein; Promised gift to the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.
Shahzia Sikander, Pakistani-American, b.1969. No Fly Zone, 2002. Watercolor, dry pigment, gravure, and inkjet outline on wasli paper; 21.5 × 11.4 cm. Collection of Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist and Sean Kelly, New York.

Shahzia Sikander: Extraordinary Realities is organized by the RISD Museum and presented in collaboration with the Morgan Library & Museum. The exhibition will be on view at RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island from November 12, 2021 through January 30, 2022. It then travels to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where it will run from March 13 through June 12, 2022.

Images courtesy Morgan Library & Museum.