- Partha Mitter
(b Lahore, March 6, 1969).
Pakistani painter, active also in the USA. Sikander’s formative influences were her liberal family, schooling at a Catholic convent and travelling throughout Pakistan. She attended the National College of Arts in Lahore in 1989–92, followed by the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence in 1992–5. Sikander is an example of a transnational artist, whose evolving artistic expression kept pace with her own development as a political individual. With a precocious gift for drawing (see figs 1 and 2), she showed great versatility in her artistic media, from delicate miniatures and drawings inspired by numerology, to large-scale wall paintings, installations, performance art (with the dancer Sharmila Desai), digital animation and ceramics (see fig.). At the art school in Lahore she demonstrated her independence by specializing in miniature painting, widely dismissed at the time as kitsch, though some younger artists in Pakistan have subsequently followed her path. This solid grounding in traditional craftsmanship paradoxically offered her the wherewithal to engage with the predicament of modernity and its fractured identities. The genre opened up a dialogue between artistic, cultural and existential polarities: East and West, Muslim and Hindu, secular Mughal portraiture and Hindu religious mythology, narration and abstraction....