The artwork is titled, Intersections, and artist Anila Quayyum Agha is expressing two concepts: one, Islamic culture is enchanted by the beauty of Islamic design, however, they deny females the freedom of expressing their own beauty. Secondly, the wooden pattern design is from a time when Eastern and Western cultures co-existed in harmony.
The artwork strikingly resembles a cage. Through the two concepts stated above, it could be interpreted that the artist is expressing the caging of women’s rights and freedom to express their own beauty and societies current inability to see the beauty in the freedom of cultural assemblance.
We personally like the artist’s expression of the concept of beauty: that which enamors Islamic women in physical reality also symbolizes their own exclusion as valued members of society. Anila Quayyum Agha’s artworks do not exist for aesthetic purposes only, rather she uses beauty as a channel for her active voice.
Intersections is probably the most intricate example of Agha’s use of pattern in her artworks. Constructed from laser-cut wood, the patterns emulate the designs in Islamic mosques.
Anila Quayyum Agha states of the artwork:
The Intersections project takes the seminal experience of exclusion as a woman from a space of community and creativity such as a Mosque and translates the complex expressions of both wonder and exclusion that have been my experience while growing up in Pakistan. The wooden frieze emulates a pattern from the Alhambra, which was poised at the intersection of history, culture and art and was a place where Islamic and Western discourses, met and co-existed in harmony and served as a testament to the symbiosis of difference. I have given substance to this mutualism with the installation project exploring the binaries of public and private, light and shadow, and static and dynamic. This installation project relies on the purity and inner symmetry of geometric design, the interpretation of the cast shadows and the viewer’s presence with in a public space.
Mixed media artist, Anila Quayyum Agha, is not predictable. Visiting her webpage, her artworks are driven by concepts rather than confined by an artistic medium. However, the use of geometric pattern seems to be a constant variable throughout her collection.