Faisal Devji, Homi Bhabha
The alchemy of Shazia Sikander's work commingles the age-old tradition of miniature painting with explicitly modern media, revealing the tensions and imbrications in the iconographies of West and East; Islam, Hinduism and Christianity; past and present. The lush, jewel-like pigments and remarkable draftsmanship of Sikander's images, as well as the fragile beauty of her tissue drawing installations, are reproduced in this catalogue, which compliments her 1999 exhibition at The Society. In his insightful essay "Translated Pleasures", Faisal Devji, historian and lecturer at the Ismaili Institute in London, compares Sikander's work to the riddles of the ghazal tradition. An interview of the artist by cultural critic and Harvard professor Homi Bhabha reveals Sikander's process of interweaving tradition and contemporaneity from the vantage of her personal history, and illuminates how the artist's hybrid aesthetic addresses issues of postcolonialism, gender and history.