Shahzia Sikander: Unbound

This exhibition focuses on the recent work of the contemporary Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969). By experimenting with classical Persian and Indian painting, Sikander has unbound “miniature” forms from premodern illustrated manuscripts to large-scale drawings, animation, glass mosaic, and most recently, sculpture. As a recipient of several accolades including the Medal of Arts from the United States and the National Medal of Honour from Pakistan, Sikander has established herself as an interpreter of multiple past traditions for today’s globalised world. 

In addition to the 20 objects: drawings, paintings, mosaic, the centrepiece of Shahzia Sikander: Unbound is a sculptural installation on the campus of Jesus College. This bronze sculpture entitled Promiscuous Intimacies (2020) shows two idealised versions of feminism: an eleventh-century Hindu celestial dancer and Venus from a sixteenth-century painting by Angolo Bronzino. By juxtaposing these two feminine ideals, Sikander enters debates on inherited traditions, decolonisation, and global feminisms. Installed at Jesus College—the first time this work has been shown outside of the United States—the sculpture  comes into conversation with a robust sculptural tradition at Jesus as well as issues related to the College’s more recent history of restituting sculptures to Britain’s former colonies. 

Shahzia Sikander: Unbound unfolds over two terms, Autumn 2021 and Spring 2022, and involves several public outreach programmes and a scholarly symposium held at the Frankopan Hall. The exhibition is supported by Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, Pilar Corrias Gallery in London and The Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies at Cambridge.

In coordination with the Works of Art Committee, the exhibition is organised by Dr Vivek Gupta, College Postdoctoral Associate at Jesus College and Postdoctoral Associate in Islamic Art at the Centre of Islamic Studies (2020-23). 

Read more about the project here.



Oct 15 2021 - Feb 18 2022


West Court Gallery
Jesus College, Cambridge


Jesus College Cambridge

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