Mirrat I and Mirrat II

In these two compositions that preserve the format of manuscript illustrations and its decorative framing, Sikander portrays her friend Mirrat. In Mirrat I, she appears at Lahore Fort, a citadel in the capital city. Mirrat II shows her in an empty Sikh haveli, a historical home abandoned after the partition of India and Pakistan. The repetition of the figure suggests the passage of time—a traditional device in Mughal paintings. Sikander adapted the manuscript trope of the waiting woman by depicting Mirrat with a range of nuanced, contemplative expressions.

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969)
Mirrat I and Mirrat II, 1989–90
Watercolor and gold leaf on tea-stained wasli paper
Collection of the artist
© Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist, Sean Kelly, New York and Pilar Corrias, London.