Incredible Installations of Cube-Shaped “Chandeliers” Cover Rooms With Ornate Geometric Shadows

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “A Beautiful Despair” lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 60” x 60” x 60”. Installation at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.

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.

Pakistani American artist Anila Quayyum Agha creates incredible art installations that seem to function as cube-shaped chandeliers.

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “A Beautiful Despair” lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 60” x 60” x 60”. Installation at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “A Beautiful Despair” lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 60” x 60” x 60”. Installation at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.

When illuminated, the sculptural artworks project ornate, geometric shadows on the entire space.

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “Shimmering Mirage,” lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 36” x 36” x 36”, 2016. Installation at June Collins Smith Museum, Auburn, AL, 2021. (Photo credit: Mike Cortez)

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “Shimmering Mirage,” lacquered steel and halogen bulb, 36” x 36” x 36”, 2016. Installation at June Collins Smith Museum, Auburn, AL, 2021. (Photo credit: Mike Cortez)

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “This is NOT a Refuge! 2,” laser-cut, resin coated aluminium, light bulb, 93” x 58” x 72”, 2019. Installation at June Collins Smith Museum, Auburn, AL, 2021. (Photo credit: Mike Cortez)

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “Liminal Space,” “67” x 63”. Installation at Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “Red Wave” mixed media on paper (graphite, encaustic, embroidery, mylar), 13.75” x 15.75″, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Intricate Light Boxes by Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha, “Sound of Silence – 1,” mixed media on paper (paper cutout, beads, embroidery, mylar), 25” x 29.5″, 2020. Image courtesy of the artist.

Anila Quayyum Agha: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Anila Quayyum Agha.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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