This painting, created for the animation SpiNN, includes several scenes of gopis in an act of rebellion. The gopis join together to create the beast that Krishna rides into the durbar hall. Once inside, they take over the space. Traditional Indian manuscript paintings typically feature only a single prominent gopi, Radha, the favored consort of Krishna. As Sikander multiplies the gopis’ numbers, she gives them all the agency of Radha, speaking to the power of a collective feminine space.

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969)
SpiNN (III), 2003
Watercolor on tea-stained wasli paper
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Promised gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein in honor of Annette DiMeo Carlozzi, 2015
© Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist, Sean Kelly, New York and Pilar Corrias, London.