Fine Art Focus: Shahzia Sikander

by Grace Bonney

Few things make me happier than discovering an artist or maker I’ve never heard of. Not only do I get to fall in love with something wonderful and new (to me), but I get that very important reminder that there is always more to find, more to understand and more to learn.

For today’s Fine Art Focus, Ana Na chose artist Shahzia Sikander. Her work blew me away from the moment Ana’s email loaded. I love seeing the way she weaves watercolor, gauche and paper together to tell beautiful and often complex stories with deep political and cultural connections. Her work also introduced me to the world of contemporary miniature painting! Read on to learn more about Shahzia and her artwork. xo, grace

Artist: Shahzia Sikander
About: Shahzia was born in Pakistan and received her BFA from the National College of Arts in Lahore in 1991. She moved to the United States to get her MFA from RISD in 1995.
Work: Shahzia’s work examines complex political and social histories through miniature painting, an area she has had a big hand in re-popularizing since the 1990s. She has shown her work in galleries and museums across the world and was awarded the Inaugural Medal of Art by former US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
More: You can read more about Shahzia’s work here on her website, watch videos of her work and process here and watch a great interview between Shahzia and the Director of the MoMA, Glenn Lowry, here.

*Images of artwork courtesy of Shahzia’s website. Portrait photo via Baccarat Magazine.


Suggested For You


  • I remember seeing Shahzia’s work some fifteen years ago, when she was an emerging artist. It’s so wonderful to see her successes detailed here!

  • One of my favourite books in my collection is Nemesis, which explores the work of Shazia Sikander. Thanks for sharing more on her work.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.