press release

The Linda Pace Foundation presents an exhibition by New York-based artist Shahzia Sikander. The Last Post, 2010, is an animated video installation inspired by Sikander’s ongoing interest in the colonial history of the Indian Subcontinent as well as the British opium trade with China. The artist animates the protagonist of The Last Post, an East India Company man who appears in various guises, as dissolving, exploding, and reconstituting himself throughout the work. Through the assorted metamorphoses of the main character, The Last Post can be seen as a metaphor for societies and cultures in constant, never-ending transformation.

At the foundation of Sikander’s artistic practice, drawing is the basis for animated works and finished works on paper. Through her drawings and animated images, the artist explores themes of history, memory, cultural identity, power, disruption, societal tension, and flux. Sikander’s large-scale work on paper Walled States, 2011 pictures disruptions along cultural and geographical boundaries and will be presented in conjunction with the animated video installation.

The music soundtrack for The Last Post is composed by Chinese American musician Du Yun, whose genre-defying work exists at the crossroads of chamber music, avant-garde, opera, theater, pop, cabaret, storytelling, visual arts, and noise. Her written compositions, ranging from solos to orchestras, have been performed across North America, Europe, Mexico, Argentina and China, and are broadcasted internationally. At the opening reception on September 14, Du Yun will perform the score she composed as the dramatic accompaniment to Sikander’s The Last Post.

Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in New York. She holds a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, where she studied miniature painting, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Sikander was a Core fellow of the Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston from 1995-1997 and was a participant in the Artpace International Artist-in-Residence program in San Antonio in 2001. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2006. Sikander has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the world and her work is included in the collections of the Linda Pace Foundation, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Blanton Museum of Art, among many others.

Sikander’s primary materials include gouache, ink and graphite on paper, and in 2001 while participating in the International Artist-In-Residence program at Artpace San Antonio she began working in digital animation. Setting her miniature works into motion, Sikander’s layered animated images which shift freely between representational and abstract forms reveal her central concerns of societal tension and transformation.

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Shahzia Sikander