In Hidden Diamond — Saffron (2019), Anila Quayyum Agha designed each side of the suspended cube the same, repeating a symmetrical pattern by combining and adapting different decorative elements from the Alhambra. Suspended and lit from within, the cube casts lace-like, floor-to-ceiling shadows that allude to the richly ornamented public spaces of her youth. These geometric shapes and lines become shadows covering the walls, floor, ceiling, and even visitors. No clear boundary or separation exists. Our moving bodies change the nature of the pattern as one interacts freely, weaving in and out and through its dense silhouette. Agha pushes the dichotomies of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic in her work by relying on the symmetry of geometric design and the interpretation of the cast shadows to transform our surrounding environment completely.
Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965) is a Pakistani-American artist who works in a cross-disciplinary fashion with mixed media. She creates 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. Agha is perhaps best known for her immersive, large-scale light installations in which she laser-cuts elaborate patterns into three-dimensional cubes.
Agha’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida; the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Spain; and Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Texas. Major awards include the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, ArtPrize (Juried and Public Vote Grand Prize 2014), Creative Renewal Fellowship and DeHaan Artist of Distinction (Indy Arts Council), Research Scholar Award (Indiana University), Schiele Prize (Cincinnati Art Museum) and the 2019 Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation. For the 2019 Venice Biennale, Agha was included in the collateral event She Persists. Her work has been collected by institutions and private collectors nationally and internationally.
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