Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander has been honoured with the US State Departmentâ€™s inaugural Medal of Arts for her â€œoutstanding commitmentâ€ to the â€œArt in Embassiesâ€ programme. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conferred the award on Sikander at a ceremony in Washington last month.
With an eye on cultural exchange and visual diplomacy, the â€œArt in Embassiesâ€ creates permanent and temporary art exhibitions in over 200 diplomatic venues worldwide. Sikanderâ€™s works have been on permanent display at the US Consulate in Karachi since 2011.
The award acknowledged the artistâ€™s commitment to the â€œArt in Embassiesâ€ programme and to international cultural exchange.
Shahzia Sikander was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in New York City. She holds a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work spans a variety of mediums including drawing, large-scale wall installations, animation and video. Sikander has successfully brought Indo-Persian miniature painting into the realm of contemporary art through subverting her training in the genre with commentaries on lived experience, art history and pop-culture. Sikanderâ€™s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. Her work has been exhibited at venues world wide including major solo surveys at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney Australia (both 2007).
She also participated in the 1997 Whitney Biennial and the 2005 Venice Biennial. Among her many recognitions, Sikander was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2006. She is also the recipient of The Louis comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1997), the Tamgha-e-imtiaz, Medal of Excellence award from the Government of Pakistan (2005), and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award (2006).