HomePage Artists

Nilima Sheikh Biography

Borrowing from and translating the vocabulary of Indian painting traditions, Nilima Sheikh's artworks have ranged from small paintings reminiscent of Mughal and Rajput miniatures, to vertical scrolls rooted in East Asian customs. Over her 50-year career, the Baroda-based artist has woven into her work her concerns with femininity, tradition, violence, poetry and national politics.

Read More

After studying painting at the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in the 1960s and 1970s, Sheikh's interests aligned with those of other emerging artists who strove to situate figuration and narrative in a contemporary context. Indicative of this concern, Sheikh's Songspace—exhibited in 1995 at Gallery Chemould, Mumbai, and at Africus, the first Johannesburg Biennale—was a set of vertical, casein on canvas scrolls. The series' delicate, translucent colours intoned painterly and lyrical rhyme in their suggestions of an imagined landscape. Comprising of six double-sided tempera-painted canvasses hung beneath a painted canopy, Shamiana was erected in 1996 for the 2nd Asia-Pacific Triennial at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, and alluded to the temporary tents erected during some Indian weddings.

In 2001, the exhibition Conversations with Traditions: Nilima Sheikh and Shahzia Sikander at Asia Society, New York, exhibited the artists' distinct engagements with pre-modern Indian painting. Included was Sheikh's landmark series 'When Champa Grew Up' (1984), which described the tragic life story of a woman murdered for her dowry by her husband's family. Arising from her lasting interest in narration and writing, Sheikh offered the lyrics from Gujarati oral folk songs as accompanying texts for the series.

In The Country Without a Post Office: Reading Agha Shahid Ali—a solo exhibition at Gallery Chemould in 2003 that took its name from an anthology of Ali's writing—Sheikh presented a visualisation of poetics and politics. The artist's citing of Ali's poetry, which focused on the contemporary conflict in Kashmir, reflected on the inherent conflicts between aesthetics and trauma. As in some of Sheikh's earlier work, these paintings employed the syntax of free verse, with compositional narratives developing not from linear descriptions but from the flexibility of independent and layered readings.

Sheikh lives and works in Baroda, India.

Ocula | 2019

Nilima Sheikh Featured Artworks

View All (19)
Of Sohrab and Rustom by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhOf Sohrab and Rustom, 2018Tempera on Sanganer Vasli paper
48 x 33 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Departure 2 by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhDeparture 2, 2018Tempera on Sanganer Vasli paper
48 x 33 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Blood on the Road 2 by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhBlood on the Road 2, 2018Tempera on Sanganer Vasli paper
33 x 48 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Cargo 2 by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhCargo 2, 2018Tempera on Sanganer Vasli paper
48 x 33 cm
Hanart TZ Gallery Contact Gallery
Birth by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhBirth, 1998Tempera on paper
27.5 x 19.6 inches
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke Contact Gallery
Sarhad 2 by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhSarhad 2, 2014Tempera on Sanganer paper
54.6 x 157.5 cm
Not for sale
Asia Art Archive
Kasauli Art Centre, India by Nilima Sheikh contemporary artwork
Nilima SheikhKasauli Art Centre, India, 1989
Not for sale
Asia Art Archive

Nilima Sheikh Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, From the Collection at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
Closed
15 May–30 June 2018 Group Exhibition From the Collection Galerie Mirchandani + SteinrueckeMumbai
Contemporary art exhibition, Nilima Sheikh, Lines of Flight at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong
Closed
22 March–30 June 2018 Nilima Sheikh Lines of Flight Asia Art ArchiveHong Kong

Nilima Sheikh In Ocula Magazine

Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements Ocula Report Dhaka Art Summit 2020: Seismic Movements By Radha Mahendru, Dhaka

Seismic Movements, the fifth Dhaka Art Summit, plotted movements, solidarities, and exchanges across the Global South with over 500 artists, scholars, curators, and thinkers.

Fade out copy.
Read More
Nilima  Sheikh Ocula Conversation Nilima Sheikh By Hera Chan, Hong Kong

Nilima Sheikh says it was a different time then. Though always true, what she is describing is the specificity of her life as an artist in India. Born in New Delhi in 1945, Sheikh trained in Baroda, where she now lives. Her paintings contain world lexicons, written in a language she has developed over the last four decades. Integrating source...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Report: documenta 14 in Kassel Ocula Report Report: documenta 14 in Kassel By Federica Bueti, Kassel

Two women are next to each other in the intimacy of a bedroom. The elder is in a wheelchair, whereas the younger sits, holding a glass in her hands, on a bed covered with beautifully patterned blankets. The two women, whose gentle faces look alike, chat tenderly while exchanging caresses, their eyes full of life, of joy and sadness. They are...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Collateral Gains: Delhi focus Ocula Report Collateral Gains: Delhi focus By Georgina Maddox, New Delhi

Plugging in to the excitement created around the India Art Fair, which premiers on 28 January 2016 at the NSIC exhibition grounds in Okhla, New Delhi, exhibition spaces in the capital are hosting some of their best shows. There are private galleries presenting solo exhibitions featuring contemporary and relatively younger artists, such as Sumakshi...

Fade out copy.
Read More

Nilima Sheikh In Related Press

View All (6)
Art Basel 2018 Round-Up Reports Buoyant Sales At Core Event Related Press Art Basel 2018 Round-Up Reports Buoyant Sales At Core Event 18 June 2018, Artlyst

Art Basel Switzerland which is always an important barometer in the art market has reported that some of the world's premier galleries experienced remarkable sales across all levels of the market. The fair in Basel closed on Sunday, June 17 2018, amid reports of significant sales to private collections and institutions by galleries across all...

Fade out copy.
Read More
RELATIVE VALUE: THE FIRST COUPLE OF BARODA Related Press RELATIVE VALUE: THE FIRST COUPLE OF BARODA 3 December 2017, Mumbai Mirror

Last month saw the opening of the veteran artist Nilima Sheikh's Terrain: Carrying Across, Leaving Behind at Chemould Prescott Road in Fort. The exhibition comprises a single body of work — sixteen paper scrolls mounted on cloth, painted in casein tempera, and enclosing an octagonal space. 'Inscribed in these panels are stories from...

Fade out copy.
Read More
A house with many windows Related Press A house with many windows 1 December 2017, The Hindu

Through her latest work, Terrain: Carrying Across, Leaving Behind, artist Nilima Sheikh offers the viewer a space—an enclosure that she describes as 'meditative yet vulnerable'. This single body of work, especially created for the Documenta 14 exhibition, held earlier this year in Kassel, Germany, is an eight panel retro verso structure...

Fade out copy.
Read More
Nilima Sheikh uses textual codes to convey the interiority of her life on canvas Related Press Nilima Sheikh uses textual codes to convey the interiority of her life on canvas 30 November 2017, Architectural Digest

Nilima Sheikh's exhibition Terrain: Carrying Across, Leaving Behind at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai is a summation of the artist's brilliance. She combines art historical references and simple narratives as she inscribes in her panels stories from folklore to present times.

Fade out copy.
Read More

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by Nilima Sheikh are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
;
iCal
GoogleYahooOutlook