The current lot exhibits Sikander’s process of exploration as her art evolved within the miniature tradition. The artist’s characteristic layering and interlacing of forms has been employed here with various body parts from horses. Satirically titled Riding the Written, Sikander has manipulated these fragments so that they appear to look like Arabic script. Islamic calligraphy is a centuries old practice used to disseminate religious texts and messages. The marbled effect of the paper in conjunction with the cleverly disguised horses, really does appear to be a calligraphic text from afar and only when scrutinized up close does one realize that there is no text in the painting whatsoever. This intentional quirk plays with perspective and narrative expectations to create rifts, and to highlight the possibility of spatial and temporal experimentation within the miniature format. Thus far in her career, Sikander has revived the miniature style, changing it into a form of artistic expression that has the capacity to be fragmentary, playful, and commensurate with the language of contemporary art.
This work is one in a series with the screened part of the work (the horses as text) on different backgrounds, which makes each work unique. One such painting is in the collection of the Bradford Museums and Galleries in the United Kingdom.
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