Shahzia Sikander (Pakistani, b.1969) is an artist based in New York City best known for her Mughal miniature painting as well as her Persian miniature painting. Sikander is also a performance artist, a muralist, a mixed media artist, and an installation artist. Having been taught the art of miniature painting in the traditional Pakistani technique, she adds her own modern take on the pieces, making her art unique.
Religion plays a significant role in her work as well as her personal life, due to her Muslim beliefs. Through her work, she explores how Muslim women are challenged by the Western way of living. She has been known to wear a veil in public, though she did not do so prior to her relocation to the United States. She does so as an experiment to study how Westerners are affected by the tradition.
Sikander attended the National College of Arts in Lahore and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1992. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, and in 1995 she earned her Master of Fine Arts. Sikander's first solo exhibition took place in 1993 at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, D.C. Many solo exhibitions followed, taking her to such places as the Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris in New York in 2000 and The San Diego Museum of Art in California in 2004.
In addition to the solo exhibitions, Sikander also participated in many group exhibitions, including those held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005 and Museum Ludwig in Germany in 1999. Sikander received a number of awards, including the Shakir Ali Award/Kipling Award from the National College of Arts, Lahore in 1993, The Joan Mitchell Award in 1999, and the MacArthur Fellows Program in 2006. Sikander continues to impart her personal touch and some political and social views into what may be considered to be an impersonal and disciplined tradition. She continues to exhibit work all over the world and adjust her work to reflect the current status of her culture.