Shahzia Sikander was born in Lahore In Pakistan in 1969 and became interested in Indo-Persian miniature painting while studying at the National College of Art.
Miniature painting was considered old-fashioned and only of interest to a tourist market. She says: ‘I elected to work in the miniature format in 1988 during my second semester of foundation at school. The choice itself was an act of defiance. At that time there was no interest in the Miniature Painting department – in fact it was viewed with suspicion...it supposedly represented our heritage, yet we reacted to it with ridicule.’ With fellow artists Imran Qureshi and Aisha Khalid, Sikander helped to revive the form, taking it to new levels, with collaborative performances, animations and monumentally- scaled drawings that take their subject matter from real-life situations. She is attracted to what she identifies as the pluralism of miniature painting. Unlike Qureshi, Sikander left Pakistan to settle in NewYork.
‘My interest really was to bring the personal into this space.’