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Shazia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969, Lahore, Pakistan) is a painter, living in New York City. She earned a BFA in 1992 at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan; and an MFA in 1995 at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island.

She has had solo exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (1999/2000) and at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1998). Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum (1999/2000 and 1999), at the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia (1999), and at the Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany (1999).

Sikander has been schooled in the miniature painting tradition of Pakistan, and combines the historic iconography and technique with her own aesthetics resulting in a hybrid of traditional and contemporary styles. The imagery in her work references the tensions that exist in Islam, Hinduism and Christianity as well as her personal history, politics, and sexuality. Religion is a significant element in her art as well as her personal life, as she is a practicing Muslim. Sikander explores in particular, the role of Muslim women and challenges the view Westerners have of associating Islam only with terrorism and oppression of women.

She has been granted the "genius grant" for 2006 by the MacArthur Foundation.

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