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Roots and Wings

How Shahzia Sikander Became an Artist



The Museum of Modern Art

(pub.5.11.2021) 40 pages

Authors: Shahzia Sikander

and Amy Novesky

Illustrator: Hanna Barczyk

Character: Shahzia Sikander

Overview:"Growing up in a multigenerational, multicultural home in Lahore, Pakistan, where her family’s Muslim traditions are filled with food and rituals, Shahzia is surrounded by stories of all kinds. At the Catholic school she attends, she studies Western literature, and at home, her father regales her and her siblings with fantastical tales from a Russian storybook on animals. Shahzia’s love for books leads to a fascination with illustrations, like the ones she sees in illuminated manuscripts and South Asian miniature portraits, and she discovers a talent for drawing. Through art, Shahzia is able to create the different worlds she reads about, using her imagination to take her beyond the walls of the home she grows up in."

Tantalizing taste:

"I study miniature paintings with a magnifying glass.

I see every detail: heroes and monsters, mythical birds

and beasts.

Miniature paintings are not small at all, but big.

I am an explorer discovering whole new worlds.

I am a heroine."

And something more: Amy Novesky shared in an interview with the Museum of Modern Art : "'I love to write and edit books about art and artists, so this book felt like a really good fit. It was an immediate 'yes' for me. I was honored and thrilled to work with MoMA and with Shahzia, and to be a part of this beautiful book with them and with Hanna. I have never cowritten a book with an artist, and so that was new for me. To slip into the first-person voice of another, living person’s story is a bit daunting—it was important to me to get it right. Shahzia was incredibly gracious and generous, entrusting me with her story."

Roots and Wings is beautifully written and the illustrations have a lovely vintage feeling.


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