"Portrait of the Artist" (detail) on the cover of RISD XYZ.
Shahzia Sikander's "Portrait of the Artist" on the cover of RISD XYZ

Pace Prints collaborator and Rhode Island School of Design alum Shahzia Sikander was featured on the Winter 2017 issue of the school's alumni magazine RISD XYZ. The cover image is a detail taken from Sikander's portfolio of four etchings, Portrait of the Artist, published by Pace Editions, Inc.

In the article, Sikander discusses the mercurial nature of identity, the range of cultural influences she experienced as a child and through educational institutions, the conflicting experience of living in Pakistan under a military regime, and her personal onus to explain Pakistani and Muslim heritage both as an artist and parent. Sikander also calls for greater representation of the Muslim-American experience, emphasizing its inherent plurality, by way of children's books that celebrate a Muslim child’s heritage, family, culture and tradition and museums for Islamic art. Sikander also shares powerful words for artists who are grappling with the results of the 2016 presidential election:

"Now, the incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric spreading in certain parts of the US is dangerous and suffocating. It robs all of us of our innate humanity and empathy. However, while I am deeply troubled and disheartened by the anti-women, anti-immigrant, anti-earth and pro-bigotry sentiments that emerged from the 2016 presidential election here in the US, I also feel newly energized to return to the studio. This is a moment when I am most charged as an artist—when I feel the urgency and clarity to speak out. In so many ways, making art is never about seeking stability in uncertain times; it is about confronting uncertainty."

The Winter 2017 issue of RISD XYZ will be available online in January.

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