Pakistani American artist Anila Quayyum Agha uses her many varied experiences as inspiration for her incredible installation art. She constructs intricate cubes that, when illuminated, cast beautiful Islamic patterns on all sides of the room. Not only do these precious lanterns explore the visible dynamic between light and shadow, but they also embody other polarities such as masculine and feminine, and religious and secular.
Originally from Pakistan, Anila has been living and exhibiting her art in the United States since she received her MFA from the University of North Texas. “Having lived on the boundaries of different faiths such as Islam and Christianity, and in cultures like Pakistan and USA, my art is deeply influenced by the simultaneous sense of alienation and transcience that informs the migrant experience,” Agha explains to My Modern Met.
Duality is ever-present in her work. She uses solid, modern materials like steel to create ethereal, almost dainty-looking objects, which are covered in traditional Islamic geometric motifs. These lanterns project their ornate designs onto blank walls to fill public spaces with their story. “Mixing reflections and shadows with solid forms and often transposing the resulting effects, my artwork aspires simultaneously to be perceptually soothing and conceptually challenging,” Agha continues.
Notably, these sculptural chandeliers also explore the relationship between 3D and 2D art when they create flattened patterns on the floors and ceiling of a room. However, there are also deeper conversations laden within these enchanting installations. “My work is about a contemplation on the nature of boundaries and alienation, and on the power of dialogue to transcend the barriers of gender, race, religion, culture, and the natural environment that prevent the true intersections and exchanges between world populations and cultures,” she adds.
You can learn more about Agha's creative practice by visiting her online portfolio, and keep up to date with her latest installations by following the artist on Facebook and Instagram.