A Measure of Time is a solo presentation of sculptures and mixed media works on paper by internationally acclaimed artist Anila Quayyum Agha (b. 1965). Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan where she received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore. She later immigrated to the United States and attended the University of North Texas, obtaining an MFA in Fiber Arts. Currently, she resides in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Augusta, Georgia, where she is a professor and the Eminent Morris Scholar of Fine Art at Augusta University. Drawing from her experiences as a Pakistani woman and immigrant, Agha’s work is global in scope—crossing cultures and boundaries to explore shared humanity.
Her large-scale suspended sculptural cube, A Beautiful Despair, created in view of the recent pandemic with its associated losses and gains, transforms the gallery space through cast shadows consisting of floral and geometric patterns inspired by Islamic artistic motifs of Asia and Africa. The enveloping environment offers an inclusive space for all visitors of all backgrounds for a communal experience. Stealing Beauty, a mirrored stainless-steel multi-layered wall relief of intertwining floral patterns, references South Asian Islamic culture and the designs of 19th-century British textile designer William Morris. Activated by light, the shadows on the wall shiver and dance, resulting in an amalgamation of patterns that raise questions of inspiration and appropriation, commerce and movement. In addition to Agha’s steel installations, the exhibition features several mixed media works on paper made through traditional craft methods such as embroidery. The wall-based works offer an intimate viewing experience and encourage visitors to consider how certain materials and artmaking forms have traditionally been gendered. These works aim to redefine our perceptions of craft and handiwork as significant and poignant forms of creative expression. Ultimately, Agha’s consideration of the deeply entwined relationships between gender, culture, religion, labor, and social codes strives to bring people of different worldviews together in one space to create dialogue, mutual understanding, and future change.
This exhibition is organized by Telfair Museums and curated by Erin Dunn, curator of modern and contemporary art.