– Highlights

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Mca Collection

MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday

01 Sep - 31 Dec

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Exhibition

The National 2017

30 Mar - 18 Jun

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Exhibition

Kader Attia

12 Apr - 30 Jul

– Learning Events

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Workshop

Art Safari

28 Apr, 10.30am, Level 3: National Centre for Creative Learning

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Special Event

ARTBAR April 2017

28 Apr, 7.00pm, MCA

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Workshop

Workshop

03 May, 6.30pm, Level 3: Digital Studio in NCCL

– News from inside the MCA

Young Art Lovers' Book List

To celebrate World Book Day (Sunday 23 April) the MCA Store and MCA Learning crew have teamed up to put together a selection of fun, inspiring and engaging titles sure to spark the imaginations of budding artists and creative thinkers. more

From the archives: Curious catalogue

Never judge a book by its cover? In this issue of our monthly archive series, MCA Archives and Records Management Coordinator, Stephanie, leafs through some unusual pages more

Girl On Film: Erin Coates

The National 2017: New Australian Art artist Erin Coates gets in the driving seat for our April film experience more

– Spotlights from the collection online

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MCA Collection

Works from the MCA Collection

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Collection Artist Interviews

Watch our latest interviews in the MCA Video Portal

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Joint acquisitions by MCA and Tate

The Program promotes Australian art globally, helping Australian artists reach new audiences.

Shahzia Sikander

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)

Duration

27 Nov 2007 to 17 Feb 2008

Curator: Rachel Kent

about the exhibition

This major solo exhibition, the artist’s first in Australia, charted Shahzia Sikander’s career from Pakistan to the United States, where she has lived for the past fifteen years. Born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander studied painting in the Mughal miniaturist tradition and relocated to New York in 1993 to undertake further studies. This exhibition was Sikander’s largest to date, encompassing works from the early 1990s through to 2007, including a vast wall painting which was commissioned and created on-site especially for the MCA.

Sikander’s art is characterised by its precision of line and delicacy of touch. From tightly structured miniature paintings to larger, more loosely formed watercolours in which pigments stain and bleed into one another, creating impressionistic forms, her works incorporate both figurative and abstract references. In these works Hindu, Muslim and Western imagery co-exist as historical tradition meets contemporary interpretation. Beauty, sensuality and a gently subversive humour underlies these works with their rounded female forms, mandalas, courtly interiors and dancing deities.

The exhibition was augmented by the inclusion of historical miniature paintings from South Asia, providing a context and introduction to the artist’s own practice. The artist’s interest in spatial relationships and how they affect the viewer were illustrated in the extraordinary site-specific wall painting commissioned by the MCA, Transformation as Narrative (2007), Sikander’s largest wall drawing to date. The artist, working with several assistants, used a number of drawings and photographs as inspiration for her work, and would visit Sydney’s Botanical Gardens at dusk to document the flying foxes, incorporating photographs of their ghostly silhouettes into her painting. The painting took almost three weeks to create, and in its final form abstract lines and colourful image fragments swirled together in an agitated mass, cascading downwards from the Level 2 mezzanine across the gallery wall.

In the Shop