Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shazia Sikander Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection

Shahzia Sikander Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection presents a selection of paintings and decorative arts from the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum's collection, curated by artist Shahzia Sikander.
A Pakistani-born artist known for her expertise of the Indo-Persian technique of miniature painting, she combines this Eastern practice with Western views about art and expression to create work that "should stand on its own, irrespective of geography". Interested in the "entanglement of histories of India and Pakistan" and their religious differences--Hinduism and Islam, respectively--also influences the content of Sikander's work.
On view through September 7 at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, it is a small but beautiful exhibition including miniature paintings, Japanese Katagami stencils, 19th Century anatomical diagrams, and intricate commemorative ribbons. Sikander states, "it is often the missed detail that can launch or renew a tired or trained relationship", and all the detail to be found in this exhibition will certainly keep you refreshed. Not only is there a harmony in color throughout the pieces, but a wonderfully articulated combination of rigorous technique and free-hand gesture.
Pictured above: Album folio, Grand Vizier Shah-Quli Khan, Iran, 1696 (courtesy of Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution); Commemorative ribbon bookmark with portrait of President Abraham Lincoln, ca. 1920 (photo: Matt Flynn)
Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum www.cooperhewitt.org; Shahzia Sikander www.shahziasikander.com

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