Lighting the Dark
Image: Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965), All the Flowers Are for Me (Red), laser-cut lacquered steel and lightbulb, Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art, 2017.7 (detail)
The Cincinnati Art Museum presents Anila Quayyum Agha’s All the Flowers Are for Me (Red) until 7 February. The popular sculpture, first displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2017, is the museum’s first acquisition by the Pakistani and American artist Anila Quayyum Agha who creates immersive installations by manipulating light. Light emanates from the centre of a five-foot laser-cut steel cube, enveloping the gallery in intricate shadows that ripple and change as you walk through the space. Inspired by Islamic architectural forms and referencing her experience as a diaspora artist, the geometric and floral patterns cast upon the walls, floor, and ceiling transform and unify the gallery space.
“Anila Quayyum Agha’s artworks create immersive, contemplative environments imbued with beauty and textured meaning. This piece was originally created in 2016, in part as a manifestation of her personal grief after the death of her mother. Now, only four years later, we receive this sculpture in a world that is experiencing a collective grief, as we continue to navigate a global pandemic and radical social change. We hope that the exhibition will provide our visitors a moment of respite and reflection,” said Dr. Ainsley M. Cameron, Cincinnati Art Museum Curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art & Antiquities.
Agha’s light-based installations have been exhibited nationally and internationally in more than 20 solo shows and 50 group shows. She currently resides and works out of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Augusta, Georgia. Born in Pakistan in 1965, Agha moved to the United States in 1999 and, in 2004, completed her MFA in fiber arts at the University of North Texas. In 2008, she moved to Indianapolis to take up a professorship at the Herron School of Art & Design/IUPUI. She is currently serving as Professor and Morris Eminent Scholar in Art at Augusta University in Georgia; an esteemed position that combines teaching, studio work, and building bridges between students and artists.For more information visit cincinnatiartmuseum.org/visit