Today we go #InDetail with Shahzia Sikander’s newest mosaic work, Arose, 2020. Sikander states, “Art has been a deeply personal vehicle for me to engage paradoxes and polarities, power and history, via expunged female accounts and narratives, whether in art, culture, religion or the political discourse. Iconographies in my work counter narrow definitions of the other, while providing a broader representation of female agency.The two interlinked female protagonists, rich in detail and depth, are portrayed as a circular bloom. Having risen to the top, buoyant and afloat, they exist untethered to any specific time or space while being a critical part of the natural environment.
Drawing is my thinking hat. It is a notational tool, a fundamental language that allows me to collaborate with other languages such as writing, animation, mosaic and sculpture. What led me to mosaic was animation. It was the dynamism of the pixel that emerged in my mind as a parallel to the unit of a mosaic. I began experimenting with mosaic in 2015, when I received my first large scale permanent public art commission for Princeton University.
Glass was a natural direction, as much of my work deals with transparency and light. There is definition of form, yet some mystery is kept intact. The sensitivity with which the material of glass is transformed is intrinsic to the final experience of the work. The compression of space through the detail and density inherent in the material is intentional. Choosing to not grout the mosaic and keep the surface uneven, with varying sizes of glass pieces, also endows the work with a sculptural sensibility."