Architectural decoration and embroidery meet the art of Anila Quayyum Agha in Fort Worth


With Afghanistan very much in the news, art rooted in neighboring Pakistan is now topical. But don’t expect violence or outward protests in the often delicate works of Pakistani-born artist Anila Quayyum Agha. Agha, who came to the United States in 1999 and received a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas, says much more subtle things in the works on display at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

With influences ranging from the delicate stone screens of Islamic buildings to exquisite lace and embroidery, Agha mixes religious and aesthetic history with the historically devalued work of women. Two new creations in lacquered steel, with delicately incised geometric and plant shapes, light up dramatically to diffuse shadows.

A beautiful despair is a 5 foot hanging cube, with two bulbs inside projecting ambiguous tracery all around. Strategic spotlights diffuse the geometries of Liminal Space in four directions. The works on paper, mixing fine line patterns and embroidery, seem to float like in half-forgotten dreams.


“Anila Quayyum Agha: A Beautiful Despair” runs through January 9, 2022 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. To free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 817-738-1933,

Artist Anila Quayyum Agha pictured during her exhibition ‘Anila Quayyum Agha: A Beautiful Despair’ at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art on September 1, 2021. Photograph by Nan Coulter.

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