Cycles and Transitions


In this work begun in Providence and reworked in Houston, Sikander used thin washes over areas of figuration to conflate bodies with the landscape. Female forms, in guises from comical to dark, resist categorization. “I was responding to my inability to locate Brown South-Asian representation in the feminist space in 1990s art-history books,” the artist recalled. “The monolithic category ‘third-world feminism’ felt offensive and limiting while it also pointed out white feminism’s blind spots and exclusions.”

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969)
Cycles and Transitions, 1995–96
Watercolor and gouache on tea-stained wasli paper
Collection of Alton and Emily Steiner
© Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist, Sean Kelly, New York and Pilar Corrias, London.