Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She has an M.F.A. from the University of North Texas. Agha’s work has been exhibited in multiple international art fairs as well as in over twenty solo shows and fifty group shows. Recent solo shows in 2015, include the Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Rice University Gallery, and The National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Spain. In 2005, Agha was an Artist in Resident at the Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston. Agha relocated to Indianapolis in 2008 to teach at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and is currently the associate professor of drawing. In 2009 Agha was the recipient of the Efroymson Arts Fellowship. She has received two IAHI grants (2010/ 2015) and a New Frontiers Research Grant (2012) from Indiana University. In 2013 Agha received the Creative Renewal Fellowship awarded by the Indianapolis Arts Council. Agha won the two top prizes at ArtPrize 2014, in the international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her entry, titled "Intersections," earned the ArtPrize 2014 Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize in a tie.


Agha 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.


Statement - Rights Of Passage

The installation Rights of Passage uses motifs from the graves of women at the Makli necropolis near the Indus River Delta in Pakistan. I find it interesting that humanity has deified death by constructing beautiful memorials to enclose graves as sacred spaces. For me the designs on the women’s graves at the Makli site evoked the embroidered garments and jewelry worn by women. The repetition of these designs on the clothes worn in life and the graves that marked death evoked the ambiguous boundaries between the two for the women who are subject of adornment. Their lives are light and ephemeral. They come silently and leave silently. Sometimes their only importance is death. In this work, the continuity of adornment thus marks a theme of regularity between female life and death. This piece is homage to those women, the patterns paying tribute to their existence in both reality and memory. The pieces in the installation evoke a memoriam for women and their personal narratives, thus creating beautiful but silent stories within the very essence of the work.