Shahzia Sikander at Madison Square Park, New York

17 January – 4 June 2023

Project description

The Bagri Foundation is excited to be a major supporter of Shahzia Sikander‘s major new work on the theme of justice for a multimedia exhibition, Havah… to breathe, air, life, in Madison Square Park, New York, and the nearby courthouse. The exhibition marks the first collaboration between the Conservancy and courthouse—both located in the Flatiron District of New York.

Opening in Winter 2023 in the park and at the Courthouse of the Appellate Division, First Department of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, the exhibition features two new large-scale sculptures—one within the park that can be transformed with Snap AR technology and another on the Courthouse rooftop, visible from the street and the first female figure to adorn one of its ten plinths. A video animation by Sikander will be on view in the park, visually intertwining the distinct elements. The exhibition is a culmination of Sikander’s exploration of female representation in monuments and marks her first major, site-specific outdoor exhibition in sculptural form. Havah…to breathe, air, life is co-commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy and Public Art of the University of Houston System (Public Art UHS). The exhibition will be on view in New York from January 17 through June 4, 2023, before traveling to Houston.

Artist’s bio

Shahzia Sikander (American, b. Pakistan 1969) expands and subverts pre-modern and classical Central and South-Asian painting traditions through a broad range of materials and methods, including miniature painting, works on paper, video, mosaic, and sculpture. Distinguished for launching the neo-miniature movement, Sikander investigates conceptual premises in language, trade, empire, migration through feminist perspectives, colonial, and imperial power structures through her far-reaching practice. Sikander’s innovative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her traveling exhibition on the first 15 years of her art practice, Extraordinary Realities, opened at The Morgan Library in New York in 2021 and traveled to the RISD Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Shahzia Sikander: Unbound, opened in 2021 at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, and explored the artist’s innovative use of manuscripts. Sikander is a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and received the United States Medal of Arts in 2012. The artist became a Fukuoka Laureate in 2022 as a recipient of the Arts and Culture Prize from Fukuoka City, Japan. She earned her B.F.A. from National College of Arts in Lahore, an M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design, and participated in Glassell School of Art’s CORE Program at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

About Madison Square Park Conservancy

Madison Square Park Conservancy is the non-profit responsible for caring for the park. We are dedicated to nurturing our public space by focusing on the following areas: community, art, horticulture, sustainability. 

Gallery images credits: Photos by Yasunori Matsui