April 4

Shahzia Sikander: Disruption as Rapture


About this Release

Pace Prints is pleased to announce the online release of a print by Shahzia Sikander to support the presentation of the exhibition Collective Behavior in Venice, during Biennale Arte 2024, and in Cincinnati, in 2025. Disruption as Rapture (2024) is a photogravure and relief print, in an edition of 35. The print will be available Thursday, April 4, at 11am New York time, exclusively on paceprints.com. The complete edition will be offered for direct purchase on this page on a first-come, first-served basis.

Co-organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) and the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA), the exhibition Collective Behavior is the most comprehensive presentation of Shahzia Sikander’s work to date, bringing together more than 30 works made over three and a half decades, including new site-specific drawings and glasswork. Complementary iterations of Collective Behavior will be on view in Venice (April 20 – October 20, 2024), in Cincinnati (February 14 – May 4, 2025), and in Cleveland (February 14 – June 8, 2025).

Shahzia Sikander mines the imagery of classical Indo-Persian miniature painting in her work, but has rejected any strictures of iconography, especially in regard to gender and power roles, throughout her career. Her practice encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, and animation, all of which function as vectors for pluralistic readings of their diverse cultural signifiers. 

The edition Disruption as Rapture is linked to the animation work of the same name, which will be on view in Collective Behavior. The works reference an eighteenth-century illustrated manuscript of the Gulshan-i ‘Ishq (Rose Garden of Love), a North Indian Hindu love story recast as a Sufi tale and created for an Islamic court in south-central India. The story recounts the challenges lovers must overcome to be united, with the image of the garden recurring throughout, symbolizing the sought-after fulfillment of their love.

In the print, Sikander presents the garden as a dense and opulent thicket surrounding a pool, where several winged female figures appear elusively, as if in transitional states. The photogravure of the copper intaglio plate describes the scene in rich tones from velvet shadows to the faintest shading of ripples on water. The colors of the image, laid down in a continuously blended gradient of four oil-based inks, shift from verdant foliage, to cool turquoise, to citrus orange. Above the pool, a bright cloud of yellow suggests an apparition, to which the bathing figures offer welcoming gestures. Sikander writes:


“The term ‘disruption’ in the title is a catalyst — through disruption to locate something unexpected.”


Disruption as Rapture uses the multi-layered and combinatory potential of printmaking to reimagine the garden of love, free of the expected narrative. Through the explosion of binary notions, she opens the moment of rapture to a myriad of possibilities.



About Shahzia Sikander

Shahzia Sikander is widely celebrated for subverting Central and South-Asian manuscript painting traditions and launching the form known today as neo-miniature. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander earned a B.F.A. in 1991 from the National College of Arts (NCA) in Lahore. Sikander’s breakthrough work, The Scroll, 1989–90, received national critical acclaim in Pakistan and brought international recognition to this medium within contemporary art practices in the 1990s. Sikander received her M.F.A. at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. Over the subsequent twenty-plus years, Sikander’s practice—which has expanded to include paintings, media work, and most recently, sculpture—has been pivotal in showcasing the art of the South Asian diaspora as a contemporary American tradition.

Sikander’s Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in Texas; the Morgan Library and Museum in New York; the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island; Jesus College in Cambridge, United Kingdom; the MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome; the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney; the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. Sikander has also been featured in group exhibitions at international venues, including the Sharjah Biennial 11; the 8th and 13th Istanbul Biennials; the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo; the 54th Venice Biennale in Italy; and the Whitney Biennale in 1997, among others. Sikander has been the recipient of many notable awards, including most recently the Pollock Prize for Creativity in 2023, the Fukuoka Arts and Culture Prize in 2022, the Asia Society Award for Significant Contribution to Contemporary Art in 2015, a medal of Art by the U.S. Department of State in 2012, and a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006. Sikander’s work is in the collections of all major national and international museums, and permanent site-specific public artworks include the University of Houston, Princeton University, the Cincinnati Art Museum and Johns Hopkins University. Sikander serves on the boards of Art21, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and is a member of the Asian American Arts Alliance’s artist council. In conjunction with her traveling exhibition, an extensive monograph examining Sikander’s work entitled Extraordinary Realities was published in 2021 by Hirmer Publishers and The University of Chicago Press.

Sikander’s major new outdoor project, an 8-foot bronze female sculpture, is currently on the roof of the Appellate Courthouse in Manhattan. An accompanying 18-foot female sculpture was exhibited in Madison Square Park in 2023 and will travel to the University of Houston in 2024. Every midnight in September 2023, Sikander’s animation, Reckoning, unfolds across the screens of Times Square. Sikander’s recent project with the Moynihan Train Hall Public Art Program saw her animation Singing Suns displayed across screens in Moynihan Train Hall from November 2023 to January 2024. Collective Behavior, a survey exhibition of Sikander’s work, organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cincinnati Art Museum, will be on view in Venice during Biennale Arte 2024 and in Cleveland and Cincinnati in 2025.


Shahzia Sikander: Collective Behavior
More information on the exhihibition Shahzia Sikander: Collective Behavior.



About Pace Prints

Pace Prints has been a leading publisher and gallery of original fine art prints, monoprints and multiples since 1968.

In the Pace Editions and Pace Paper studios, Pace Prints offers artists the expertise, facilities and resources to create boundary-breaking original work in a broad range of printmaking techniques, from the traditional to cutting-edge, innovative and hybrid approaches.

Pace Prints’ gallery, now located at 536 West 22nd Street in Chelsea, is a premier exhibition space dedicated to fostering education and connoisseurship about prints to art lovers and collectors. Pace Prints is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) and the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA).