Written by Sona Datta
In the long slow heat of a Lahore afternoon, when the day’s work has been done, women sit and sew. Anila Quayyum Agha also learned to sew, and this maternal gift has today been enshrined by her mother’s recent passing and an expansion in the artist’s practice. Agha’s early negotiation of needle and thread propelled her on to study Textile Design at the prestigious National College of Arts in Lahore, after which the young Agha left Pakistan in search of the presumed freedoms of the West, arriving in Texas to pursue a postgraduate degree in Fiber Arts. Agha’s relationship with textiles is thus long and deeply embedded in her own formative history. She has gone on to master its technical possibilities, while harnessing more familiar associations of the feminine, domestic and decidedly unfashionable, to reclaim them under a new banner of the transnational. Agha is a deep thinker who has charted an independent course, which is now reaping dividends and a long overdue widespread recognition.