Shahzia Sikander: 2016 Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting

Shahzia Sikander: 2016 Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Shahzia Sikander (RISD MFA ’95), Photo: Julie Holder.
October 18, 2016
Shahzia Sikander: 2016 Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to announce New York-based artist Shahzia Sikander (RISD MFA ’95) as this year’s Vikram and Geetanjali Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting. Sikander will visit campus several times this year to participate in talks, reviews and other public programming, and will also take part in a series of activities in Rome.

Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Sikander’s pioneering practice takes Indo-Persian miniature painting as a point of departure. She challenges the strict formal tropes of miniature painting as well as its medium-based restrictions by experimenting with scale and media.

Gail Silver Memorial Lecture: Shahzia Sikander
October 19, 6:15–8pm
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence
Sikander delivers the RISD Museum’s annual Gail Silver Memorial Lecture, reflecting on her time at RISD and the work she created in the 1990s. This lecture series is made possible by a generous gift of the Silver family made in memory of their mother. The event will be streamed at

Ayad Akhtar: a conversation
October 25, 4–7pm
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center, 20 N. Main St., Providence A conversation with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright/author Ayad Akhtar, Sikander, RISD Literary Arts & Studies Assistant Professor Avishek Ganguly, and RISD Painting Professor Dennis Congdon (RISD ’75). The dialogue will engage collaboration, challenging perceptions of identity, tradition, and contemporaneity from multiple perspectives. Reserve tickets in advance at Event will be streamed at

Empire Follows Art
November 9, 1–6pm
Fleet Library at RISD, 15 Westminster St., Providence
This focused seminar on Sikander’s early works (some of which were made during her time at RISD) will provide some context of her recent exhibitions. Notably, the session will focus on the 2016 exhibition curated by Claire Brandon, Shahzia Sikander: Apparatus of Power at the Asia Society Hong Kong and the accompanying 300-page monograph edited by Brandon. Together the artist and curator will discuss some of the early works in the exhibition as well as the thematics in the presentation of works that were first developed by the artist in the ’90s. Brandon and Sikander will also provide students with insight on the artist interview and studio visit as it pertains to the curator-artist relationship.

Conversation: Rick Lowe, Julie Mehretu & Shahzia Sikander
November 10, 4:30–7pm
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence
Sikander, Rick Lowe and Julie Mehretu (RISD MFA ’97) will discuss the cultural landscape from the 1990s to present day and their part in shaping it. The friends will develop a dialogue about artists supporting artists, collaborations, mentoring, and what lies ahead. Reserve tickets in advance at Event will be streamed at

Ecstasy as Sublime: Heart as Vector
November 30–December 1
Rome, Italy
In conjunction with Sikander’s exhibition, Ecstasy as Sublime: Heart as a Vector, at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, MAXXI, RISD, and the American Academy in Rome (AAR) are collaborating to host a three-day program of events, including an artist talk at RISD’s site in Rome, a film screening at the AAR, and a panel discussion at MAXXI. For more information visit:

“In today’s transnational ways of living and being, frameworks that restrict the definition of one’s work to purely national and cultural histories and identities feel restrictive,” noted Sikander. “Building dialogue in depth across multiple perspectives and communities is essential. The interface established from outside of the comfort box fosters humility, challenges innate assumptions and opens new territories of experience.”

“In an increasingly connected global society, works of art and design are able to communicate across cultures in ways that words alone cannot,” said RISD President Rosanne Somerson (RISD ’76). “RISD students, faculty and alumni such as Shahzia Sikander, this year’s Kirloskar scholar, powerfully convey the impact of identity and multicultural understanding through their work. Thanks to a generous endowment from the Kirloskars, we are able to continue to emphasize global learning at RISD and welcome Shahzia to campus for what will surely be a mind-expanding and richly rewarding experience for our community.”

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Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
October 18, 2016

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