Settling in New York

In 1997, as opportunities to show her work in New York expanded, Sikander decided to move there. She embarked on more ambitious installations of layered tracing-paper drawings, wall drawings, and projects combining the two. The speed and looseness of these large-scale works contrasted with the increasing refinement of her paintings. During a residency at Artpace, San Antonio, in 2001, she created her first animation.

In response to life in New York, Sikander continued to focus on female multiplicity and agency while also developing fresh concepts, especially after the events of 9/11, which affected her work deeply. “Questions of wealth and class, trade, global economics, race, and capitalism all started to percolate,” she said. “Negotiating a sense of belonging during this phase was riveting.”

The Morgan Library & Museum. Artwork © Shahzia Sikander, Photography © Casey Kelbaugh