Shahzia Sikander

Biography of Shahzia Sikander

Award-winning Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969, Lahore) is a rising star, critically acclaimed for her pioneering art. She takes inspiration from the past, but fights the limitations of traditional techniques and styles to create complex works that speak of our present day, while nodding to what came before.


Sikander studied the traditional art of Info-Persian miniature painting in Lahore, before moving to the USA to complete a masters at the Rhode Island School of Design in painting and printmaking. With masterful skill, she transforms traditional miniature painting themes and approaches through paintings, prints and multimedia works that carry interpersonal, social and political messages. The processes of print-making remain a vital element of Sikander’s oeuvre. She often mingles traditional techniques with video art, animation, mural art and installation—the resulting artworks are highly sophisticated and graceful, visually and conceptually.


As a woman who was raised in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and now living on a different continent, gender and the discourses that take place across borders and cultures play important roles in Shahzia Sikander’s work. She seeks to subvert stereotypes by exploring the complex questions through her own personal reference points and current events.


Shahzia Sikander has had solo exhibitions in notable institutions across the globe, such as at the MAXXI in Rome, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Amongst several awards, she won the Medal of Art from the US State Department, the Joan Mitchell Award, and was elected the Young Global Leader of 2006 at the World Economic Forum. Sikander’s work is in the MoMA, the Whitney, the Guggenheim, Fukuoka Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Pinault Collection, MAXXI in Rome and the Royal Ontario Museum, amongst many others.

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