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Shahzia Sikander at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

The first solo museum exhibition in Europe of the work of Shahzia Sikander opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 28 March 2007.  Comprising some 25 works the exhibition provides a brief overview of Sikander’s career and focuses on her most recent practice.  The exhibition includes two of her animations alongside new large-scale paintings.  While studying at the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander specialised in Indo-Persian miniature painting at a time when there was little interest in this traditional practice. She has described her choice as being regarded with suspicion by her student colleagues, the practice of miniatures seen as "excessively kitsch” and solely for tourist consumption.  Sikander was determined to create a dialogue with tradition, developing an original artistic practice that includes painting, drawing, animation and complex installations.  Now based in New York her practice also incorporates the aesthetic debates of popular iconography and contemporary cultural theory. 

Sikander’s work confronts and interrogates the perceptual distances between the cultures designated as ‘East’ and ‘West’, an area of poignancy and difficulty in the current political climate.  The work of Sikander is particularly relevant in this context, but unquestionably transcends it with an integration and exploration of multiple viewpoints and contexts.  Emerging from a post-colonial and post-partition background Sikander is also interested in exploring both sides of the Hindu and Muslim “border”. 

Sikander has embraced the possibilities of digital technology in her work using it to literally ‘animate’ her paintings.  Two examples of these animations are included in this exhibition SpiNN, 2003 – 2006, (a pun on the news media channel CNN) and Pursuit Curve, 2004.  Sikander has also combined Photoshop technology with screen printing to create large-scale paintings inspired by the miniature tradition.  The second of the series The Illustrated Page, 2007, is shown for the first time in Dublin.  

Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan, and currently lives in New York.  She received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1995. In 1997, her work was selected for the Whitney Biennial, coinciding with a simultaneous exhibition of her work in the Drawing Centre in New York.  In 2003, she was invited to participate in the Istanbul Biennial, followed by the inaugural 2004 Seville Bienal and the Venice Biennale in 2005.  Her work featured in the 2005 group show Translation in the Palais de Tokyo, and most recently held Miniphilia, a solo show in the Valentina Bonomo Gallery in Rome late last year. Sikander has received many awards for her work – in 2006 she was a recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation fellowship. 

This exhibition is curated by Seán Kissane, Curator: Exhibitions, IMMA.

A publication, published by IMMA in association with Charta, accompanies the exhibition with texts by Seán Kissane and Professor Homi Bhabha, Professor of English and American Literature, Harvard University.

Gallery Talk
On Tuesday 27 March at 5.00pm, Shahzia Sikander will present a talk on her exhibition in the East Ground Floor Gallery. Admission is free but booking is essential on tel: + 353 1 612 9948 or email: [email protected]

The exhibition continues until 7 May. Admission is free.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday 10.00am-5.30pm
except Wednesday 10.30am-5.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays 12 noon- 5.30pm
Mondays and Friday 6 April Closed

For further information and images please contact Monica Cullinane or Patrice Molloy at Tel: +353 1 612 9900; Email: [email protected]

21 March 2007