The Newark Museum of Art acquires Shahzia Sikander outdoor sculpture

The Newark Museum of Art announced the acquisition of Shahzia Sikander’s NOW, (2023), a large-scale outdoor sculpture on long-term display on April 29, 2024. A  significant addition to NMOA, NOW will coincide with the debut of recent acquisitions and new surprises in the Arts of Global Asia galleries.

NOW is an important contribution to the Museum’s campus-wide plan and outdoor sculpture park vision. Alongside the artist, NOW will be celebrated at the Museum’s  Washington Street entrance on Saturday, May 18th at 3:30pm during the all-day American Art Convening, which is open to the public and free of charge.

A luminous artwork made of bronze and measuring 8-feet-high, the figure represented in NOW is part mythical, part actual person and honors notable historical women who were able to accomplish momentous achievements despite societal constraints. NOW nods to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (with an incised lace collar around the figure’s neck) and, fittingly, will stand just feet away from the newly-named Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall at Rutgers University, Newark, where Ginsburg was a law professor and whose commitment to social justice was an inspiration to Sikander.

NOW is a meaningful addition to NMOA collection for several reasons.

The sculpture complements an extensive Arts of Global Asia gallery rotation entitled “Heroic Women,” in which the  contributions that women have made throughout history are highlighted. Further, NOW fulfills the Museum’s goal to increase representation through artworks by women and artists of color. Not to mention, Sikander is one of the most in-demand contemporary artists working today with major exhibitions and installations at prestigious museums across the country.

“This momentous addition to our renowned Arts of Global Asia collection and its prominent placement signals to each passerby that the Museum is a place for everyone, both outside and in, where  representation and diversity matters, and all are welcome,” Linda C Harrison, Director and CEO, The Newark Museum of Art, said.

Upon learning that NOW had been acquired by NMOA, Sikander wrote to Atteqa Ali, Associate Curator, Arts of Global Asia, who brought the sculpture into the collection, “I haven’t had such a big gesture of support from an American institution towards acquisition of my work in many years (post 9/11).” 

NOW will be celebrated during the NMOA’s American Art Convening, Changing It Up, an event filled with  artist-led conversations and workshops exploring the evolving landscapes of American art and the  innovative use of museum spaces. Sikander will participate in a panel discussion, “Artists and Museums  as Worldmakers,” alongside Terence Hammonds, Erica Lord, and Bony Ramirez. In partnership with  Newark City Parks Foundation, Inc., the Convening block party will feature DJ Raed Ransom of  YallaPunk spinning disco/funk beats with SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) music. 

About Shahzia Sikander 

Shahzia Sikander is an internationally exhibiting artist who is 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.  

No Comments Yet.