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b. 1965, Pakistan

Anila Quayyum Agha Biography

Anila Quayyum Agha examines issues of global politics, cultural identity, mass media and gender roles in her multi-disciplinary practice. The Pakistani-American artist is best known for her immersive, large-scale light installations in which she laser-cuts elaborate patterns into three-dimensional cubes. Suspended and lit from within, the cubes cast lace-like, floor-to-ceiling shadows that completely transform the surrounding environment, alluding to the richly ornamented public spaces such as mosques that Agha was excluded from as a female growing up in Lahore.

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In addition to her suspended light installations, Agha also creates wall-mounted sculptural works, including her 'Flowers' series (2018) that explores love and loss inspired by the mixed emotions she experienced following her son's wedding and mother's passing, events that happened in the same year. Although these works may appear decorative, they are imbued with meaning, from the floral patterns that express the beauty and femininity of her mother, to the metallic threads commonly used for wedding dresses in Pakistan. The visual elements collectively amplify the interplay between the matrimonial and the funereal, and by extension, the larger cycle of life.

To produce these elaborate works, Agha laser-cuts vibrantly hued encaustic paper with intricate patterns and adorns them with light-reflecting embroidery and beads. These exquisitely detailed drawings are framed within shadow boxes, allowing light to pass through the cut-outs and cast patterned shadows in a manner similar to her large-scale light installations. The framing and shadows allow these works to transcend their two-dimensionality.

Anila Quayyum Agha has an M.F.A. in fibre arts from the University of North Texas. She has exhibited her work across the globe, including in the 2018 Kansas City Biennale, curated by Dan Cameron; the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts; the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York; the Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Texas; the National Museum of Sculpture, Valladolid, Spain; and the Cheongju Craft Biennale, Korea. Her work is in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan; and the Kiran Nader Art Museum, New Delhi. In 2014, Agha was awarded the popular and juried vote at ArtPrize for her installation Intersections, a first in the history of the Grand Rapids-based competition.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, 1965 | Lives and works in Indianapolis, Indiana

Text courtesy Sundaram Tagore Gallery.

Anila Quayyum Agha Featured Artworks

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Flowers (Dark Red) by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, sculpture, photography, print
Anila Quayyum AghaFlowers (Dark Red), 2017Mixed media on paper (encaustic dark red circle with dark red beading in center)
76.2 x 55.9 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Itinerant Shadows - White (Arches) by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork sculpture
Anila Quayyum AghaItinerant Shadows - White (Arches), 2019White laser-cut lacquered steel & light bulbs
61 x 61 x 61 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Hidden Diamond - Saffron by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork sculpture
Anila Quayyum AghaHidden Diamond - Saffron, 2019Laser-cut, lacquered steel
121.9 x 121.9 x 121.9 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Flowers (Orange Circle) by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork painting
Anila Quayyum AghaFlowers (Orange Circle), 2017Mixed media on paper (encaustic orange circle with pink beads in centre)
74.9 x 76.2 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Shimmering Mirage [red] by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork sculpture
Anila Quayyum AghaShimmering Mirage [red], 2019Lacquered steel and halogen bulb
121.9 x 121.9 x 121.9 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Itinerant Shadows - White (Caged Flowers) by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork sculpture
Anila Quayyum AghaItinerant Shadows - White (Caged Flowers), 2019White laser-cut lacquered steel & light bulbs
61 x 61 x 61 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Shimmering Mirage by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork sculpture
Anila Quayyum AghaShimmering Mirage, 2016Lacquered steel and halogen bulb
91.4 x 91.4 x 91.4 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery
Ephemeral Bloom - Teal by Anila Quayyum Agha contemporary artwork works on paper
Anila Quayyum AghaEphemeral Bloom - Teal, 2017Mixed media on paper
76.2 x 76.2 cm
Sundaram Tagore Gallery Contact Gallery

Anila Quayyum Agha Recent Exhibitions

Anila Quayyum Agha Represented By

Sundaram Tagore Gallery contemporary art gallery in Chelsea, New York, USA Sundaram Tagore Gallery Hong Kong, New York, Singapore
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