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Shahzia Sikander: Intimate Ambivalence

Ikon Gallery, 2008


This catalog accompanies Shahzia Sikander’s first solo show in the UK. Shahzia Sikander’s work engages with the tradition of miniature painting as a way to focus on the contradictions of scale versus labor, precision versus gesture, and formal versus subjective. This discipline enabled her to connect with a particular aspect of Pakistani art and history that had been reduced to kitsch for the tourist market place; understand the original significance of miniatures; and reinvest the form with her present-day images and concerns.However, and importantly, her work resists cliché and categorization avoiding labeling which confines its reading to that of singular cultural origin or identity. In both small and large-scale gouaches, wall paintings and digital animations, layering is employed as both a technique and metaphor.

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