Shapes of Union

about Anila Quayyum Agha

Inspired by her visit to the amazing Alhambra in Granada, Spain, also a moment for her to reflect upon the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from Mosques, a space of community and creativity, while growing up in Pakistan, Anila Quayyum Agha uses light and cast shadow to transform a hall into a sacred space of her own making that is open to all.

It’s 2015, and the hall is the one of the Rice Gallery, on the occasion of her Intersections exhibition. The geometric shapes and lines become shadows that cover the gallery walls, floor, and ceiling, and even gallery visitors. The wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the Alhambra, a palace where Islamic and Western discourses met and co-existed in harmony, and serves as a metaphor of union.




“Materials such as steel cut with delicate patterns, or embroidery and beads on white, black and brown paper, reflect and refract light. They represent space that belongs to one more than the other, evaluate the color of my body and the bodies of others, and the cycles of life and death.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Anila works in a cross disciplinary fashion with mixed media, creating artwork that explores global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and social and gender roles in our current cultural and global scenario. As a result her artwork is conceptually challenging, producing complicated weaves of thought, artistic action and social experience.







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