ANILA QUAYYUM AGHA
Having lived on the boundaries of different faiths such as Islam and Christianity, and in cultures like Pakistan and the USA, Anila’s art is deeply influenced by the simultaneous sense of alienation and transience that informs the migrant experience. This consciousness of knowing what is markedly different about the human experience also bears the gift of knowing its core commonalities and it is these tensions and contradictions that she tries to embody in her artwork. Through the use of a variety of media, from large sculptural installations to embroidered drawings she explores the deeply entwined political relationships between gender, culture, religion, labor and social codes. In her work, she has used combinations of textile processes such as embroidery, wax, dyes, and silk-screen printing along with sculptural methodologies to reveal and question the gendering of textile work as inherently domesticated and excluded from being considered an art form. Her experiences in her native country and as an immigrant here in the United States are woven into her work of redefining and rewriting women’s handiwork as a poignant form of creative expression. Using embroidery as a drawing medium she reveals the multiple layers resulting from the interaction of concept and process and to bridge the gap between modern materials and historical patterns of traditional oppression and domestic servitude. The conceptual ambiguity of the resulting patterns, create an interactive experience in which the onlooker’s subjective experiences of alienation and belonging become part of the piece and its identity.