Anila Quayyum Agha (b. Lahore, Pakistan) received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore and an MFA from the University of North Texas. Recent solo shows include the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid, Spain, The Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Jacksonville, FL. Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. For the 2019 Venice Biennale Agha was included in a collateral event, She Persists, with 22 contemporary feminist artists. Agha has received the Efroymson Art Fellowship, Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Schiele Prize, and DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award. Agha’s 2014 ArtPrize entry, titled “Intersections”, earned the Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2017, she was awarded the Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., M.D. Research Scholar Award by Indiana University. Recently, Agha received an Endowed Chair position titled Professor – Morris Eminent Scholar in Art at Augusta University in Georgia, as well as the prestigious Smithsonian Fellowship in the arts for 2021 and will be working with both SAAM and AAA in Washington DC in May 2021. Her work has been collected by both institutions and private collectors; nationally and internationally.

The Cincinnati Art Museum will once again present Anila Quayyum Agha’s All the Flowers Are for Me (Red) from December 5, 2020–February 7, 2021.

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 center 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.

Agha began experimenting with large-scale installation works in 2010, and in 2012 received a New Frontiers Research and Travel Grant from Indiana University. Her travels inspired a profound shift in her artistic practice. In 2013, Agha created Intersections–her first laser-cut steel work–to explore the design of the Alhambra Palace through abstraction and transmitted light. Intersections was awarded the Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize at the 2014 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In 2017, Agha was named the recipient of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s prestigious Schiele Prize. This prize honors the legacy of Marjorie Schiele, a Cincinnati artist whose generous bequest of the Hanke-Schiele Fund made the prize possible. Agha’s All the Flowers are for Me (Red) was the first purchase with the museum’s Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art.

About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Special exhibition pricing may vary. Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free. cincinnatiartmusem.org

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