Art, A Space for All

Posted on February 4, 2016 by Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

Can art create an inclusive space?
Artist Anila Quayyum Agha is taking historically sacred imagery, and showing us that beauty has the power to transcend difference.

Intersections by Anila Quayyum Agha
Source: PAMELA BEVELHUMER

Inspired by her own experiences in Pakistan, and the ornate, artistic decoration of the Alhambra, Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha created the piece “Intersections.” The installation draws on traditional Islamic geometries and decorative stylization to transform a gallery space into a place where Islamic and Western culture can coexist and become a symbolic place of union.

Here is a beautiful piece by Walley Films about the artist, her process, her inspiration, and the importance of this incredible piece.

While art may not be lobbying in government, it is projects like this one that remind us that art plays a critical role in changing culture and forcing society to become introspective. It is hard to demonize a faith when you are immersed in the beauty of its artistic tradition.

The unifying power of art…

So, what role can art play in bringing us together?  “Intersections” speaks to something deeper in our nature; the ability to collectively be in awe, and feel as one in a space that creates unity through spectacle.

When we are in awe of something, we can put down our differences and acknowledge our collective experience.

We have all felt that collective power, whether, in art, music, or even sports, there is something very powerful in the feeling that we can turn to the person next to us at a concert, or after an amazing play and know we are connected because we have witnessed the same thing.

Image: Ornate carving in a doorway at the Alhambra
Source: Liesl Ulrich-Verderber PHROGEYEPHOTO.COM

Perhaps it is time to start recognizing at a broader scale the connectivity of our human experience: that the fears and hopes and dreams of the person living next door are as close to yours as the fears and hopes and dreams of somebody living across the globe. We are all living the collective experience of the state of the world at this moment, and it is probably time to look at the stranger next to us and acknowledge we are unified by this.

 

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Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV