In South Asia in the 15th and 16th centuries, skilled miniature painters packed epic scenes onto canvases the size of a enjoying card, applying brushes made from a solitary squirrel hair. But by the late 1980s, when Shahzia Sikander was a teen in Pakistan, the when-celebrated artwork type experienced faded into kitsch, tarnished by a colonial interval that saw key performs divided and bought in the West. “I gravitated to it mainly because I desired to comprehend in which that stigma arrives from,” states Sikander, whose “neo-miniatures” are the matter of a retrospective opening this thirty day period at New York’s Morgan Library & Museum. Sikander put in two decades learning the procedure, which she utilised to discover contemporary themes like gender and the legacy of colonial histories. As her get the job done received around the world acclaim in the 1990s and early 2000s, it impressed a rehabilitation of the style. “I wished to make it into a up to date idiom,” Sikander says. “And now miniature painting has develop into a even bigger factor.”

Uprooted Order, Collection 3, No.1, 1997, vegetable color, dry pigment, watercolor, and tea on wasli paper.

(Museum of Wonderful Arts, Houston, gift of Joseph Havel and Lisa Ludwig, © Shahzia Sikander. Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly, New York)

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