CraftSanity Podcast Episode 142: A conversation with ArtPrize 2014 Artist Anila Quayyum Agha

IMG_0515By Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood

A little girl jumps high delighted by her wild-haired shadow.

Nearby a young couple engages in a public display of affection casting a romantic silhouette upon the wall.

Families inch forward and back to get just the right combination of pattern and silhouette before snapping several photos.

Artist Anila Quayyum Agha, of Indianapolis, discusses her “Intersections” installation with ArtPrize attendees at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

No one seems to mind any of this as the experience of stepping into the room where Anila Quayyum Agha’s “Intersections” ArtPrize entry – a laser-cut, 6.5-foot cube that casts opulent 32- by 34-foot shadows onto the walls, floor and ceiling of the exhibition space at the Grand Rapids Art Museum – seems to be evoking joy for most viewers.

By the end of the first week of ArtPrize 2014 all 10,000 of Agha’s postcards would be gone and more would need to be printed after thousands complete a lap around her sculpture that floods the room with doily-like patterns.

“That is the most gratifying thing to see,” Agha said. “People are dancing and they’re taking pictures against the shadows.”

Agha, 49, an associate professor of drawing at Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, spent 15 months creating her sculptural piece out of laser cut wood, a light bulb and black paint. The single light source is enough to wow the masses from where it hangs in the middle of a room, flooding the space with shadow patterns inspired by photos of tiles and other ornate designs she photographed while visiting Alhambra, a palace in Granada, Spain.

Tune in to episode 142 of the podcast to hear Agha tell the story behind her ArtPrize entry that is in contention for a top prize. And read the rest of my MLive.com column about her here.

IMG_0537Up Next: Check back here later in the week for an interview with ArtPrize artist and Ludington, Michigan-based photojournalist Ryan Spencer Reed who has created a moving installation of war photography now on display at The Grand Rapids Art Museum. He will be featured in my next newspaper column as well.

Gratitude: A special thanks to my Patreon sponsors and my new sponsor, ACS Home and Work, for supporting this podcast. I discovered ACS when I was looking for a local source for flour sack tea towels for printmaking and embroidery purposes. I’m very happy to be supporting a West Michigan-based company with my business and now ACS is stepping in to sponsor the CraftSanity Podcast through the end of the year. (Thank you!!)

Local West Michigan listeners can shop ACS products at the Red Door, 6837 Lake Michigan Dr, in Allendale Charter Township. It’s the ACS outlet and also a pickup location for locals who want to order flour sack tea towels and other goods and skip the shipping costs. Visit Red door for a variety of tea towels and other home goods.

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9 Responses

  1. Hamizah says:

    Nice photos, elpceialsy the one of the building on the mound across the river from the seowon. And I’m glad you like Spiritualized – I figured you would! Track down the 13 minute version of ‘Feel So Sad’ (from Complete Works Vol. 1) if you can.

  2. Brent says:

    Very inspiring work! As an artist that also loves architectural design, so happy to see light & shadows and guest experience as a vital/moving part of your beautiful piece.

  3. Well I guess I don’t have to spend the weekend figuring this one out!

  4. Back in school, I’m doing so much learning.

  5. I just want to tell you that I’m new to blogs and actually enjoyed your website. Most likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You amazingly come with incredible stories. Regards for sharing your blog site.

  6. Como sempre uma boa transmissão da Band. Pena o teu "microfone" estar com um som ruim no grid.1- O ano acabou para a Williams? Nessa corrida foi triste ver uma ex-campeã do mundo correr quase que junto com as novatas.2- Tem alguma especulação sobre o Kobayashi em uma equipe melhor? Para mim ele é uma das melhores surpresas de pilotos na F1 junto com o Petrov.Um abraço e parabéns.

  7. We got back late tonight and started editing photos. They turned out a lot better than I expected and my husband is a lot less bummed about the hotel room than I was. I bet we do end up going back and redoing the photos. Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. a lot about how it mush it made you think. I don't often read books that are "hard" reads, but I think this one would be a good one to read. The blurb made me want to know what happened. How things ended. What caused the crazy dad to hurt that child. Thanks for the review, and I am going to look for the book.

  9. I would not be saying “hello baby” to that thing. They are really evil creatures. Our neighbors cat got disembowled by one of those things and almost went after their dog my neighbor shot at it with the gun and it went back into the woods. I would not let my dog near one of those and I wouldn’t go near one. They’re incredibly dangerous. Stay away and I know what the scream sounds like. It’s horrible.

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