Artwork Details

Anila Quayyum Agha
American, b. Pakistan

1965

Intersections Teal
2016
Medium
Embroidery and encaustic on laser-cut paper
Dimensions
29 ½ x 22 inches
Location
Secchia Upper Lobby Gallery
Accession Number
2016.19
Credit
Museum Purchase
Image Copyright
© Anila Quayyum Agha

About the Artwork

Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha uses delicately cut paper to allude to Islamic sacred spaces dense with geometric ornamentation and pattern. These works on paper were inspired by her award-winning installation work, also titled Intersections. The patterns on both the works in paper and her sculptural installation were inspired by Agha’s visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Built in the 9th century as a castle fortress, the Alhambra fell into ruin before being restored and reconstructed from the 11th – 15th centuries by rulers of the last Muslim dynasty in Spain. Today, the Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site where visitors can marvel at interiors in which every surface is covered with the complex, interlacing designs of Islamic art. 

The beauty of these spaces caused Agha to reflect upon her childhood in Lahore, Pakistan where culture dictated that women were excluded from the mosque, a place of creativity and community, and instead prayed at home. She says of her Alhambra experience, To my amazement [I] discovered the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that had been my experience while growing up.” Agha translated these contradictory feelings into her installation, Intersections, by creating a contemplative space of her own making that is open to all.