Over the course of her career, Sikander has been a pioneer in the study of early modern archives of Islamic and South Asian manuscripts for her contemporary practice.
Given its legacy of colonialism, the United Kingdom holds some of the largest collections of the very manuscripts Sikander uncovers and deconstructs. The exhibition examines her innovations within manuscript techniques such as serialisation, cutting and pasting, and calligraphy. Sikander experiments with these practices in a range of media including drawing, painting, print, mosaic, animation, and, most recently, sculpture.
"The majority of the manuscripts and paintings that inspire my practice reside in British collections and I look forward to bringing my more recent works in conversation with those archives," said Sikander.
"I'm delighted to be able to show Shahzia Sikander's work at the West Court Gallery – particularly this year, when she'll be the subject of several significant museum exhibitions in the USA, it seems especially important to give audiences in the UK the chance to see it," said Dr Jessica Berenbeim, the West Court Gallery's Curator.
The exhibition features the British debut and first outdoor installation of Promiscuous Intimacies (2020), a bronze sculpture juxtaposing European and Indian ideals of female beauty. Promiscuous Intimacies speaks to many urgent issues including race, class, history, sexuality, and gender.
Shahzia Sikander: Unbound is free to visit. It will run from 16 October – 22 December 2021 and 4 January – 18 February 2022 at the West Court Gallery in Jesus College, Cambridge. Please visit the event listing for the latest opening times and COVID restrictions.