Pathology of Suspension #6

Shahzia Sikander (Pakistani, born in 1969)


77 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ink and gouache on prepared paper

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art


Mixed media

Sikander studied miniature painting at the National College of Art, Lahore, a decision she considered an act of defiance as this tradition was viewed with suspicion and seen as irrelevant to contemporary practices. The artist has, however, transformed miniature paintings inherent characteristics - its complexity and use of appropriation - into meaningful paintings, installations and, video projections that address contemporary issues. Dominating the center of ” Pathology of Suspension # 6”, there is a flaming ball that symbolizes creation, painted from layers of stylized calligraphic marks, and a parade of gopis, women in Hindu mythology whose worship of the god Krishna is unconventional in its devotion. Sikander has integrated the gopi as a “formal device for abstraction” and uses its multiple readings to question the hierarchy of power and spirituality. These elements relate to traditional miniature painting as do the renderings of delicate silver and gray floral designs, also reminiscent of the grid and structure of Minimalist painting. By appropriating from these two traditions, Sikander works to avoid the “ghettoization of South Asian/Muslin/ Pakistani/ woman artist” and an exclusive reading of her work based on cultural definitions.


2005, Sikkema Jenkins and Co., New York; 2006, sold by Sikkema Jekins and Co. to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 21, 2006)

Credit Line

Barbara Lee Endowment for Contemporary Art by Women and Charles Bain Hoyt Fund


Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.