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 in conversation with Sadia Abbas moderated by Richard Davis 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.

Sadia Abbas is associate professor in English department at Rutgers-Newark. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University. She specializes in postcolonial literature and theory, the culture and politics of Islam in modernity, early modern English literature, especially the literature of religious strife, and the history of twentieth-century criticism. She is the author of at At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament (co-winner of the MLA first book prize) and numerous essays on subjects ranging from Renaissance poetics to the Greek crisis to contemporary theorizations of Muslim female agency. She is currently working on a book on Greece and the idea of Europe. Her first novel, The Empty Room, will be published by Urvashi Butalia’s Zubaan Press early next year. She is co-producing a book on Shahzia Sikander’s work with Jan Howard for the RISD museum.

Richard Davis is Associate professor of religion at Bard College. He teaches Hinduism, comparative religion and south Asian studies. He obtained his B.A. from the University of Chicago, M.A. University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught at Yale University, University of Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Research associate, Yale Center for International and Area Studies. Publications: Lives of Indian Images (Princeton University Press, 1997); Ritual in an Oscillating Universe: Worshiping Siva in Medieval India (Princeton University Press, 1991); “The Incomography of Ram’s Chariot” in Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community and the Politics of Democracy in India, ed. David Ludden (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996); articles in History and Anthropology, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Ritual Studies, Journal of Oriental Research, and History of Religions. He was Editor of Images, Miracles, and Authority in Asian Religious Traditions (Westview Press, 1998.) Bard College (1997—.)

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.

Thursday, November 9
18 West 86th Street

7 pm: Meena Alexander Poetry Reading

Meena Alexander
is an internationally acclaimed poet who was born in Allahabad, India and lives and works in New York City.

Friday, November 10
38 West 86th Street

7 pm: Openings
Richard Davis
, Associate Professor of Religion, Bard College
Shahzia Sikander, visual artist
Sadia Abbas, Associate Professor, Department of English, Rutgers-Newark

Saturday, November 11
18 West 86th Street

12 pm: Empire, Post-Empire, Neo-Empire
Risha Lee, Independent Curator and Scholar
Gyan Prakash, Professor of History, Princeton University
Meena Alexander, poet, scholar, and writer
Sabrina Dhawan, screenwriter and producer

2 pm: Outside Kipling’s Wonder House
Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Honorary Director, Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, India
Nadeem Omar Tarar, Director, National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan
Navina Najat Haidar, Curator of Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

FREE with an RSVP
18 West 86th Street

4 pm: Interventions in the Gallery: Alok Vaid-Menon
Alok Vaid-Menon is a gender non-conforming performance artist, writer, educator, and entertainer.