Photograph from the Macnabb Collection of a street scene in Lahore, taken by an unknown photographer, most likely during the 1890s.


On Friday November 10 at 7 pm, join artist Shahzia Sikander and historian Manan Ahmed in conversation as the opening event of Lahore on my Mind, a public festival that moves between the past and the present to explore the early modern, colonial, and contemporary cultural worlds of South Asia.

Featuring artist interventions and discussions with thinkers, curators, and artists from the United States, Europe, and South Asia. Curated by historian Sugata Ray, Lahore on my Mind takes John Lockwood Kipling: Arts & Crafts in the Punjab and London as a starting point to reflect on the role of visual arts, performative practices, and literary cultures in shaping South Asia’s aesthetics, arts, and cultural politics in a globalized world.

We are pleased to extend complimentary need-based community tickets by request to all ticketed events. To learn more, please email

Leading support for Public Programs at Bard Graduate Center comes from Gregory Soros and other generous donors.

Manan Ahmed is an Assistant Professor of History at Columbia University. He is interested in the relationship between text, space and narrative. His areas of specialization include Muslim intellectual history in South and Southeast Asia; critical philosophy of history, early modern and modern South Asia. His current research is a comparative, global project on philosophy of history stretching from the thirteenth through nineteenth century, focusing on Arabic, Persian and Urdu histories and their relationship to the emergence of “World History” (Weltgeschichte) in the nineteenth century.

Sugata Ray is assistant professor of South Asian art and architecture in the History of Art Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Trained in both history (Presidency College; Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta) and art history (Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda; University of Minnesota), Ray’s current research project focuses on an ecological art history in early modern and colonial South Asia. Ray’s second research thematic centers on a postcolonial reading of aesthetic taxonomies and knowledge systems that have shaped the formation of art history and collecting practices in the early modern and colonial period, and leads to a new book project provisionally titled Arranging Hindostan: The Contingency of Knowledge at the Margins of the Early Modern.

Shahzia Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. Pakistani-born and internationally recognized, Sikander’s pioneering practice takes Indo-Persian miniature painting as a point of departure. She challenges the strict formal tropes of miniature painting as well as its medium-based restrictions by experimenting with scale and media. Such media include animation, video, mural, and collaboration with other artists. Her process-based work is concerned with examining the forces at stake in contested cultural and political histories. Her work helped launch a major resurgence in the Miniature Painting department in the Nineties at the National College of Arts in Lahore, inspiring many others to examine the miniature tradition.