Pakistani American artist Shahzia Sikander (born Lahore, Pakistan 1969) takes both formal and political approaches to traditional Indo-Persian art forms, placing emphasis on provenance and the shifting meaning of forms over time. Her subjects often center on the process of physical, mental, or spiritual transformation through use of animation and collaboration with authors and composers. Mirror Plane relates to her work’s recurring themes of evolution, life and death, and how imagination can be a metaphor for a soaring and empowering space that is free from constraints.
—Lola Clairmont, former curatorial assistant
This beautifully intriguing gravure print (an image produced from etching a plate through an intaglio process and producing a print from it) brings about a strong curiosity in me. The intricate layers are filled with symbolism for Sikander but I believe the interpretation is very open. The base layer contains rows of detailed yet watery, repeating images in black ink resembling hieroglyphics or a language of their own. The artist plays with symmetry both horizontally and vertically in the center of the print where an expressionless figure is flanked by what appear to be fists in wing formations. The mirrored head and torso beneath the feet appears grey and skeletal. The black line dripping near the center of the work is pronounced and interesting to me. The lighter circular design reminds me of a doily but again I am left to assume the patterns may be letters or words. The color palate is very subtle yet this print projects an array of strong emotions. For me, like much of her work, this print speaks of race, gender, spirituality, and a merging of cultures.
—Steph Wisnet, communications manager
To learn more about Sikander and her work, visit shahziasikander.com/timeline.