‘It was screaming for a female’: Shahzia Sikander on creating a statue of a woman for a Manhattan courthouse (The Art Newspaper)
When Shahzia Sikander served on the New York Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments and Markers in 2017, the Pakistani American artist became more highly attuned to the lack of female representation across the public landscape. “Few monuments celebrate women and, even if they do, the histories carry so much burden,” says the MacArthur fellowship-winning artist, who is best known for her paintings, video animations and mosaics that adapt the visual language of Indo-Persian miniature painting to explore ideas of gender, migration and hyphenated identities.
This month, Sikander debuts her first site-specific outdoor sculptures in her exhibition Havah…to breathe, air, life (17 January-4 June) in New York’s Madison Square Park. A pair of fierce, golden allegorical female figures will loom over the park’s lawn and from the rooftop of the adjacent Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, at 25th Street and Madison Avenue.