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Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, The Illustrated Page Series #3, 2005-6. Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed). Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia,The Illustrated Page Series #1, 2005-6. Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed). Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, The Illustrated Page Series #1, 2005-6 (detail). Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed). Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, The Illustrated Page Series #3, 2005-6. Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed).
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Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia,The Illustrated Page Series #1, 2005-6. Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed). Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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Shahzia Sikander, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, The Illustrated Page Series #1, 2005-6 (detail). Work on paper (gouache hand painting, gold leaf, and silkscreen pigment). 80x66 inches (framed). Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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Shahzia Sikander:

Solo Exhibition

April 17, 2006–June 17, 2006

Opening Reception:
Friday, 5 May 2006 6:00–8:00 p.m.

Performance and Reception:
Friday, 5 May 2006 6:00 p.m.

Layers of illustrative and abstract imagery coat the surfaces of The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) Artist-in-Residence Shahzia Sikander's work whether on paper, paintings or digital animation. Embedded in each layer are open-ended narratives that reveal multi-faceted and constantly morphing relationships. Sikander appropriates imagery from her own visual vocabulary and universal modern motifs, further abstracting symbols from her previous works. Constantly beguiling the viewer from making literal interpretations, Sikander creates an emotional and visceral experience. Raised as a Muslim in Lahore, Pakistan, she explores the thresholds of Hindu and Muslim culture often combining tropes and iconography from both. Through the addition of modern and non-traditional elements to the manuscript artform, Sikander forces the viewer to reconcile conflicting sensibilities hidden within beautifully rendered landscapes.
 

Pre-defined icons become open-ended narratives as Sikander abstracts and removes context from the imagery in her work. Cross-cultural images—such as sports equipment, animals, landscape and pattern—incongruously co-exist alongside traditional Southeast Asian motifs organized in swirling and tumbling compositions. Men's faces float around the boarder of the 'text' as mountains of land grow in place of their wind-swept headdresses. Identity is presented as "fluid and unfixed," and oppositions such as "west/east, white/black, white/brown, modern/tradition, presence/absence, beginning/end, and conscious/unconscious" are questioned in an ongoing dialog with tradition. Sikander's visual vocabulary re-introduces disparate deep-rooted allegories and illustrates them as an abstracted, shared, indeterminate and simultaneously dissolving and evolving story.

According to the artist, the result of her residency and collaboration with FWM is "a successful marriage of two materials" that had previously been independent in her work, and an important exploration of scale. Inspired by traditional manuscript form, the centerpiece for the exhibition measuring approximately 80 x 60 inches (framed) consists of two elaborately embellished prints. Adorned with gold leaf and gouache hand painting over silkscreened pigment, The Illustrated Page Series #1 (2005-6) is the first of three unique works on paper in the same named series made in collaboration with FWM. Both 'pages' display intricate landscape imagery and large surfaces of color and pattern. By utilizing the process of silkscreen printing in conjunction with gouache hand painting, Sikander magnified the imagery and vocabulary of the work for which she is well known.



Bio
Born 1969, Lahore, Pakistan. Lives and works in New York City.
Shahzia Sikander received an M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design, and a B.F.A. from National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan. Sikander's numerous solo exhibition include 51 Ways of Looking, Brent Sikkema New York, NY (2005); Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA (2005); Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, and Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2004); Shahzia Sikander: Flip Flop, The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (2004); Drawing to Drawing, Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, California (2003); Intimacy, ArtPace, San Antonio, Texas (2001); Acts of Balance, Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York (2000); Directions: Shahzia Sikander, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (1999); and Shahzia Sikander, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1998). Participation in recent group exhibitions includes New Work/ New Acquisitions, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2005); Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now, The Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York, NY (2005); First International Biennial of Contemporary Art-The joy of My Dreams, Charterhouse of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, Seville, Spain (2004); Through Master's Eyes, LA County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2004); Beyond East and West, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois (2004, traveling); Poetic Justice, Eighth International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey (2003); and Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, Museum of Modern Art, Queens, New York (2002).
 
The World Economic Forum and The Forum of Young Global Leaders recently named Shahzia Sikander to its group of Young Global Leaders, and international group of "exceptional young leaders who share a commitment to shaping the global future" charged with the mission to "identify the dynamics and complexities of future industrial and social developments so that a shared vision for a better world in 2020 can emerge."