Rhode Island School of Design Welcomes Shahzia Sikander, the 2016 Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting at RISD

October 12, 2016

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is pleased to announce New York-based artist Shahzia Sikander (RISD MFA ’95) as this year’s Vikram and Geetanjali Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting. Sikander will visit campus several times this year to participate in talks, reviews and other public programming, and will also take part in a series of activities in Rome.

Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Sikander’s pioneering practice takes Indo-Persian miniature painting as a point of departure. She challenges the strict formal tropes of miniature painting as well as its medium-based restrictions by experimenting with scale and media.

Gail Silver Memorial Lecture: Shahzia Sikander
October 19, 6:15-8 PM
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence

Sikander delivers the RISD Museum's annual Gail Silver Memorial Lecture, reflecting on her time at RISD and the work she created in the 1990s. This lecture series is made possible by a generous gift of the Silver family made in memory of their mother. event will be streamed at livestream.com/risd

Ayad Akhtar: A Conversation
October 25, 4-5:30 PM
Metcalf Auditorium, Chace Center, 20 N. Main St., Providence

A conversation with Pulitzer prize-winning playwright/author Ayad Akhtar, Sikander, RISD Literary Arts & Studies Assistant Professor Avishek Ganguly, and RISD Painting Professor Dennis Congdon (RISD ’75). The dialogue will engage collaboration, challenging perceptions of identity, tradition, and contemporaneity from multiple perspectives.
reserve tickets in advance at risd.cc/Kirloskar1025

event will be streamed at livestream.com/risd

Empire Follows Art
November 9, 1-6 PM
Fleet Library at RISD, 15 Westminster St., Providence

This focused seminar on Sikander’s early works (some of which were made during her time at RISD) will provide some context of her recent exhibitions. Notably, the session will focus on the 2016 exhibition curated by Claire Brandon, Shahzia Sikander: Apparatus of Power at the Asia Society Hong Kong and the accompanying 300-page monograph edited by Brandon. Together the artist and curator will discuss some of the early works in the exhibition as well as the thematics in the presentation of works that were first developed by the artist in the 90s. Brandon and Sikander will also provide students with insight on the artist interview and studio visit as it pertains to the curator-artist relationship.

Conversation: Rick Lowe, Julie Mehretu & Shahzia Sikander
November 10, 4:30–6 PM
RISD Auditorium, 17 Canal Walk, Providence

Sikander, Rick Lowe and Julie Mehretu (RISD MFA ’97) will discuss the cultural landscape from the 1990’s to present day and their part in shaping it. The friends will develop a dialogue about artists supporting artists, collaborations, mentoring, and what lies ahead. reserve tickets in advance at risd.cc/Kirloskar1110
event will be streamed at livestream.com/risd

Ecstasy as Sublime: Heart as Vector
November 30 – December 1
Rome, Italy

In conjunction with Sikander’s exhibition, Ecstasy as Sublime: Heart as a Vector, at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, MAXXI, RISD, and the American Academy in Rome (AAR) are collaborating to host a three-day program of events, including an artist talk at RISD's site in Rome, a film screening at the AAR, and a panel discussion at MAXXI.
For more information visit: risd.cc/SikanderRome

The Kirloskar Visiting Scholar in Painting is the result of a $1 million gift to RISD – the single largest gift ever from an international donor – to establish an endowed fund to support visiting artists and scholars in the Painting department. The endowment highlights RISD’s growing emphasis on global engagement and positions the Painting department to further that commitment by attracting visiting artists and scholars from India or the US who have a strong connection to Indian culture.

Past Kirloskar scholars including artist Chitra Ganesh, and the New Delhi, India-based collective Raqs Media Collective.

“In today’s transnational ways of living and being, frameworks that restrict the definition of one’s work to purely national and cultural histories and identities feel restrictive,” noted Sikander. “Building dialogue in depth across multiple perspectives and communities is essential. The interface established from outside of the comfort box fosters humility, challenges innate assumptions and opens new territories of experience.”

“In an increasingly connected global society, works of art and design are able to communicate across cultures in ways that words alone cannot,” said RISD President Rosanne Somerson (RISD ’76). “RISD students, faculty and alumni such as Shahzia Sikander, this year’s Kirloskar scholar, powerfully convey the impact of identity and multicultural understanding through their work. Thanks to a generous endowment from the Kirloskars, we are able to continue to emphasize global learning at RISD and welcome Shahzia to campus for what will surely be a mind-expanding and richly rewarding experience for our community.”

As the Kirloskars were celebrating their daughter's graduation from RISD in 2012, they realized they were very moved by her four-year experience at one of the world's top art schools. “We were happy with Manasi's progress at RISD for many reasons,” noted Vikram Kirloskar, “but to our mind the most important thing she learned was to think openly and creatively. It was an attribute she already had, but RISD helped add a certain amount of process discipline and work management, which were valuable additions. The constant critiques and an intense demand for high quality work have taught her to look closely at details.”

Given the distance between their home in Bangalore and RISD’s campus in Providence, the Kirloskars were also heartened that their daughter spoke so favorably about the deep care, support and extraordinary encouragement she received from her teachers every step of the way. Their gift to the Painting department will ensure that future generations of students benefit from experiences at RISD as rewarding as Manasi's, while also offering students from the US and abroad meaningful exposure to Indian art and culture

About Rhode Island School of Design
Known as the leading college of art and design in the United States, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD’s accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD’s 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit risd.edu and our.risd.edu.