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Detail from Template for Amalgamation, Shahzia Sikander, 2009

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Detail from Confrontation, Shahzia Sikander, 2011

Sheikh-Dying Dreaming

Image courtesy of Nilima Sheikh


Image courtesy of Nilima Sheikh

Mithu Sen 3

Image courtesy of Mithu Sen

Mithu Sen

Image courtesy of Mithu Sen

We are very pleased to be working with the University of Michigan Museum of Art and the Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design to bring three influential contemporary South Asian artists to campus this Theme Semester.  On March 14, we will be hosting Nilima Sheikh; on April 3, in conjunction with UMMA's exhibition of Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art, we welcome Shahzia Sikander; and on April 11, we will hear from Mithu Sen.  

Nilima SheikhMarch 14, 4:00 PM, UMMA Auditorium

Nilima Sheikh (b. 1945, New Delhi, India) studied history at the Delhi University as an undergraduate and painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda for her Master’s degree. She uses traditional painting methods to create images of an often tragic and ruthless reality. Sheikh will discuss her works around Kashmir, which are on exhibit at the Art Institute Chicago from March 8–May 18, 2014. The title of her March 14th talk, "Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams,” is a quote from the work of Kashmiri poet, Agha Shahid Ali (1949–2001).

March 14, 4:00 PM, UMMA Auditorium.

Sponsored by CSAS, with cosponsorship by: UMMA, PSSAD, and the Department of History of Art.

Shahzia SikanderApril 3, 5:00 PM, Michigan Theater

Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in New York City. She holds a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work spans a variety of mediums including drawing, large-scale wall installations, animation and video. Sikander has successfully brought Indo-Persian miniature painting into the realm of contemporary art through subverting her training in the genre with commentaries on lived experience, art history and pop-culture.

Sikander’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. Her work has been exhibited at venues world wide including major solo surveys at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney Australia (both 2007). She also participated in the 1997 Whitney Biennial, the 2005 Venice Biennial, and recently in the 13th Istanbul Biennial and Sharjar Biennial 11 (both 2013).

Among her many recognitions, Sikander was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2006. She is also the recipient of The Louis comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1997), the Tamgha-e-imtiaz, Medal of Excellence award from the Government of Pakistan (2005), a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award (2006), and the Inaugural U.S. State Department Medal of Arts (2012).

The Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Lecture, Drawing as Ideas, is April 3 at 5:00 PM in the Michigan Theater.

Sponsored by the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. With support from the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) and in conjunction with the exhibition, “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art”, on view at UMMA January 25 - May 4, 2014.

Mithu SenApril 11, 4:00 PM, Room 1636 School of Social Work Building

Abstract: Through this talk, I want to discuss about the other kinds of bodies in my work- metaphysical, physical, emotional and subconscious. I will try to draw a narrative of my art practice. My art practice has been primarily read through the morbid and humorous representation of human and non-human, organic and inorganic bodies.

It will be an insight into my works through my words. Through this talk I want to evade all the stereotypes that have come to be associated with me; for I feel that change is essential and indispensable in making a body of art wholesome.

I would like to look at ‘feminism’ through the narrative of my work, which is not central to one specific gender, rather takes a more humane approach to appreciate life, emotions and feelings and not only through the lens of acute eroticism and sexuality in my art practice.

Further I would like to explore the idea of language as it has evolved in my language over the years. Coming from a Bengali background and struggling with a more socially accepted “metropolitan” language like English I have come to use the unconscious and non-structured aspect of our consciousness in order to deal with this marginality. For me marginality is not only socio-political and cultural. It is also of our inner voices and emotions that we have come to ignore or forget under cultural pressure. This marginality resides in our body and our body resides on those margins.

In a way, the narrative strewn through this talk will reflect the merging/fading of physical body into an abstract ‘nothingness’ in my works: a nothingness which is intangible but with a presence of its own.

Mithu Sen (b. 1971, West Bengal, India) rose to prominence in the last decade for her drawings, sculptures, and installations in which sensual and grotesque representations of the human body, animals, and inanimate objects seethe with undercurrents of irony and wit. A prominent voice in contemporary art from India, Sen upends common approaches to gender and sexuality by exploring the broad connotations of physical attributes like hair, the backbone, and teeth. Extremely visceral, her work is also disquietingly pretty, often using striking pinks and reds.

Sen will be visiting Michigan for the opening of an exhibition of her work at Michigan State University's Broad Art Museum in April. In the exhibition, Sen uses false teeth and dental polymer to create a large-scale gum-like sculpture that opposes the geometric lines of Hadid’s architecture. Playing with the histories of minimalism and materiality in twentieth century art, Sen’s sculptural intervention is primed to provoke curiosity and deep contemplation.

Sen trained at the prestigious school of art in Santiniketan, West Bengal and the Glasgow School of Art before moving establishing herself in the vibrant art scene of New Delhi. In addition to showing frequently in New Delhi and Mumbai, Sen has held solo exhibitions of her work in Brussels, Paris, Singapore, Taipei, Vienna, Zurich, New York, and Glasgow. Her 2010 solo exhibition "Black Candy (iforgotmypenisathome)" was awarded the Škoda Prize for Contemporary Indian Art. Her work has featured in important group museum shows at the Tate Modern, London; Kastrupgårdsamlingen Museum, Copenhagen; Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw and CAC in Vilnius; Institut Valencià d'Art Modern; Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai; Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Berne; the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; and Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon.

For more details.

April 11, 4:00 PM, Room 1636 School of Social Work Building

Sponsored by CSAS, with cosponsorship by: UMMA, PSSAD, and the Department of History of Art.