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Fall 2008 Programs

Shahzia Sikander

Public Lecture:
November 19th, Wednesday@ 6:00 PM
UOH Manoa Art Building Auditorium

Shahzia Sikander’s art responds to the tradition of Indo-Persian miniature painting with wit, irony, and paradox. She was originally trained in the genre in Lahore, Pakistan. Over the course of her career, she has used a variety of media, including drawing,large-scale wall installations, animation and video, to expand its canon. She appropriates its serene surface design, and introduces mythology and imagery drawn from a variety of cultures. There is no single story or single moral in her work. Instead, she narrates a world full of possibility.

An excerpt from a recent Interview between Shahzia Sikander and Fereshteh Daftari:

FD: War and violence have been recurrent and subtle themes in your work. Now serenity in the images of the monks comes across in an unprecedented manner. Can you elaborate on a perceived spirituality in your work at a time marked by partisan religions as well as a backlash against it?

SS: Serenity here is only surface deep; underneath is chaos. In the portraits, composed faces belie the complexity of Laos where monks and novices have had to harness economic and political challenges. The tension or encounter between the quiet and the chaotic is the pursuit of my work. I see it in all representations, foremost in our media-frenzied world. Through powerful images global media identifies, controls, edits and dictates at a dizzying speed but the instability beneath the layer of representation is fraught with contradictions. In such a world, spirituality for me is really about
awareness, vigilance; transcending partisanship by constantly questioning one’s own assumptions.

Sikander has had recent solo exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney Australia (2007-08) and at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, UK, 2008. She has also been included in a number of important group shows, including Global Feminisms (2007), the Taipei Biennial (2006), and the Venice Biennale (2005). She has won recognition for her work from the South Asian Women's Creative Collective. She was appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2006, and was a recipient of the Mac Arthur Fellowship from 2007-2011.

co-sponored with Shangri La

Michael Arcega
September 2-5, 2008

Public Lecture:
Wednesday, September 3rd, @ 6:00 PM in UH Manoa Art Building Auditorium

Michael Arcega is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in sculpture and installations. He often uses materials and iconic objects with significant pasts to draw attention to implements of power like military strength, organized religion, and international trade.

Often his pieces use language and humor to express darker global issues. For his recent show at the Nu’uanu Gallery in Downtown Honolulu, Futilitarianism, his work played upon the notions of utility and purpose. He presented easily identifiable objects and structures, yet installed them in a way that gave little indication of how and when they were supposed to be applied. Ultimately each object transcended its original purpose and became reminders for us to pay attention to the power of our everyday gestures. Take Traverse, for instance -- a rock climbing wall made with walnut plaques as hand and foot holds. The piece was beautiful and inviting, but nearly impossible to climb. By making our easy gestures futile, Arcega asks us to take a step back and reconsider situations and objects that we usually “conquer” without a second thought every day. In this playful way, he uses our small activities to draw our attention to larger asymmetries of power in a postcolonial context.

Arcega received his BFA in Interdisciplinary studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently working towards his MFA at Stanford University. Michael resides in San Francisco, CA.

To see more of his work, go to his website at: www.arcega.us


[university of hawai'i at manoa]
department of art and art history

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