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Painting Both Sides of a Picture

Asma Ahmed Shikoh is a mother of two young children and a Fine Arts Graduate from Pakistan, settled and working currently in New York. What is interesting about her paintings is that they speak volumes about her rich Asian cultural background, and yet reflects her present identity as a New Yorker very vehemently, capturing the diversity effectively. Understanding the artist’s work and its development After looking at a series of her recent painting exhibitions and joint shows with fellow artists, an onlooker can begin to understand the undertones in Asma’s work.

To fully appreciate her strong views about the challenges of leading a Muslim life as a New Yorker one must look into all the thematic shows done in the past decade. Firstly, she paints extensively about the presence of American culture in her Muslim country. Based on the theme of foreign food franchises in her country, she pastes cut outs of Ronald McDonald and other such icons on the canvas, creating an almost satirical portrait of her native city. The next phase of work explains the discovery of how she settles in New York.

She expresses her views by translating the subway map into her local language – an effort to feel at home. Her most recent exhibition when viewed talks about the ‘flawed’ interpretation of her religion in the American world and beyond. Together this body of work established her as a uniquely expressive artist. The artist’s stance and nature of appreciation What is inspiring about her stance on the New Yorker’s lifestyle and the culture that surrounds her is that through her work, she has highlighted interesting connections and common elements in two such diverse worlds.

Using her latest body of work as an example, she illustrates a new role model- an American hero with the Muslim style of covering her head. Her stance is approachable and appreciative as she is fascinated by the life she sees around her. And yet she remains firm about the elements of the culture that seem alien judging by where she comes from, and therefore remain unacceptable. This careful mix of emotions and the intricacy with which her work blends into the city’s culture are one of a kind. Works Cited Shikoh, Asma. Asma Ahmed Shikoh. 2006. Web. 5 May 2010. <www. asmashikoh. com>

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