Uprooted Order, Series 3, No. 1


A lotus floats over the central figure in this composition and acknowledges the umbilical cord as the literal life force of the mother. This multilayered avatar gives form to the heterogeneity of South Asia, which includes Jain, Buddhist, Hindu, Islamic, Sikh, Zoroastrian, and Christian cultures. “The central character’s attempt to pin down with its one foot the ghostlike female suggests the paradox of rootedness,” Sikander explains. “In a place like Houston, with its multiple immigrant narratives and nationalisms, the Uprooted Order series addressed the fallacy of assimilation versus foreignness.”

Shahzia Sikander (born 1969)
Uprooted Order, Series 3, No. 1, 1997
Watercolor on tea-stained wasli paper
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gift of Joseph Havel and Lisa Ludwig, 2003.728
© Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy: the artist, Sean Kelly, New York and Pilar Corrias, London.