Moynihan Train Hall and Empire State Development welcome a new video animation from artist Shahzia Sikander entitled The Singing Suns. The iconography is born from separating the silhouette of the head from the body of the female characters called gopis, who are often painted as devotees of the singular male god Krishna in South Asian historical manuscript paintings.
To develop the feminine apparatus of power, Sikander removed Krishna from the equation and then detached the gopi ‘hair’ from the gopi body’s restrictive gendered context in the traditional paintings to greater scope and autonomy. Painted gold hair shapes operate as a non-binary particle system. When multiplied into millions, they can move and morph, fluctuating between solid and fluid states like the ocean or the desert or the milky way. The flux is a metaphor for hyphenated identities, gender and vocabularies. The notion is to unhinge so the female account is freed to create its own history and empower its own narrative. Disruption as a means of exploration is a consistent element in Sikander’s experimental process strategy.