A Journey Into the Great Unknown

Asian Art Museum

San Francisco Area

28 FEB 2017 - 29 OCT 2017
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“Energy sparked by creativity is full of potential.” So begins Shahzia Sikander’s account describing the sense of exploration and excitement sparked by her recent collaboration with the Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, novelist and screenwriter Ayad Akhtar. Both Pakistani Americans, Sikander and Akhtar have incorporated their Muslim heritage into their separate practices in ways that challenge mainstream perceptions of American Muslim identity. The result of their original collaboration will be on view in our south Asia galleries. Entitled Portrait of the Artist, the work, a suite of four etching and a related colophon written by Akhtar, explores the theme of Mi'raj — the mystical night journey of the Prophet Muhammad. A powerful theme in Persian and Indian painting traditions. Mi'raj is a "metaphor for the realm of the imagination," according to Sikander.