Nilima Sheikh named Mittal Institute’s Distinguished Artist Fellow

Nilima Sheikh

Nilima Sheikh. Credit: Sunday Guardian

3 min read

The Mittal Institute is delighted to announce the selection of Nilima Sheikh as the inaugural Distinguished Artist Fellow (DAF). Sheikh, a renowned painter based in Baroda, India, will be in residence at the institute on the Harvard campus from April 17–27. On April 22, she will deliver the prestigious Norma Jean Calderwood Lecture at the Harvard Art Museums. The Mittal Institute will also host two other public talks: on April 25 and April 27.

“We are deeply honored to have Nilima join us at Harvard,” said Mittal Institute Faculty Director Tarun Khanna. “The new Distinguished Artist Fellowship builds on our longstanding Arts Program, which has been expanding opportunities for exchange between South Asian artists and Harvard for nearly a decade. This is an exciting new addition for us.”

The DAF program, which invites a senior visual artist from South Asia to the Harvard campus, is designed to bring forth critical issues relevant to South Asia through the lens of art and design. Sheikh was selected by a committee composed of Harvard faculty and contemporary South Asian art experts.

The artist will have the opportunity to spend two weeks engaging with Harvard faculty, students, and the Mittal Institute’s broader community, and will share her work through a public lecture at the Harvard Art Museums on April 22, titled, “Lyrical Colors, Flowing Stories: Conversations on paintings with the artist Nilima Sheikh.”

Jinah Kim, George P. Bickford Professor of Indian and South Asian Art in the Department of History of Art & Architecture and Mittal Institute Steering Committee Member, has been instrumental in envisioning the DAF Program and has long advised the Visiting Artist Program at the Mittal Institute, which hosts two mid-career artists from South Asian on the Harvard campus each semester. The expansion of the Arts Program to include a leading artist from the region, she says, will deepen the campus community’s connection to South Asian art.

“I am beyond thrilled that we will host Nilima Sheikh as the inaugural Distinguished Artist Fellow at the Mittal Institute. She is one of South Asia’s most prominent artists whose paintings deal with some of the most pressing issues in the region through her brilliant visual language of color and form. Having Nilima on campus provides a rare opportunity to be in conversation with a leading artist whose long career inspires us to contemplate on the significance of art in the conflict-stricken world.”

Sheikh, who describes her art as focused on displacement, longing, loss, violence, the perception of tradition and ideas of femininity, says she is looking forward to her time at Harvard. “I am excited at the idea of being part of a legendary campus of academia and culture, from where I hope to soak in the ambience, by osmosis yes, but also by listening, learning and sharing,” says the artist. “I am interested in sharing my own work in the hope it generates curiosity and discussion.”

See the full schedule of events here.

Read a Q+A with Nilima Sheikh on the Mittal Institute website.