Voices from Central State Performance and Exhibition Series

Voices from Central State photo“Voices from Central State,” based on writings by patients at what was Indiana’s flagship psychiatric institution for nearly 150 years, begins with a one-woman show adapted from a patient’s memoir published in 1886 about her seven-year hospitalization.

The show, titled “Then There Is No Need to Speak,” will be performed at 7 p.m. on Aug. 26 and 27 at the Indiana Medical History Museum, 3045 W. Vermont St.

Each night, the 60-minute performance will be followed by a brief historical presentation by Kathleen Brian, a cultural and intellectual historian at Western Washington University who specializes in histories of science, medicine and public health.

The production is directed by Terri Bourus, a professor of English drama in the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and founding artistic director of Hoosier Bard Productions. The script was adapted by Thomas Hummel from Anna Agnew’s memoir, “From Under a Cloud.” The patient, Anna Agnew, will be portrayed by Indianapolis actress Denise Jaeckel.

“What we’re looking to do with ‘Voices from Central State’ is tell an alternative kind of history through creative formats,” said Elizabeth Nelson, an associate faculty member in the Department of History at IUPUI and director of public programs at the Indiana Medical History Museum. “Most histories of medicine or mental health care are written from the point of view of doctors and administrators. It’s rare to have the patient perspective.”

“What we call mental illness — what our ancestors would have called ‘madness’ — has been part of the Western dramatic tradition for at least 25 centuries,” Bourus said.

“This interest in madness is part of drama’s fascination with extreme situations and extreme emotions,” Bourus continued. “At its best, theater makes it possible for spectators to imagine what it would be like to be another person, strikingly different from themselves. Theater provides us with a vicarious experience of the ‘other.’ That’s why memoirs, like Anna Agnew’s, are so invaluable. Agnew’s memoir tells a story of mental illness from the inside.”

The Indiana Medical History Museum is housed in the former department of pathology of the Indiana Hospital for the Insane, later known as Central State Hospital.

The second program in the “Voices from Central State” series, “I Remember Jones,” will take place at 6 p.m. on Sept. 26 and 27 at the museum. Nanette Vonnegut, daughter of acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut, will read a short story by her maternal grandmother, Riah Cox, about her hospitalization in the 1940s.

Along with Jane Schultz, an IUPUI professor of English, Vonnegut will discuss a number of themes related to Cox’s story, including how mental illness affects families, the historical role of the nurse and the power of the arts to promote recovery.

The third program, titled “Leaving Home,” is an exhibit featuring newsletters produced by patients in the years leading up to the hospital’s closure in 1994. The exhibit opens Nov. 10 at the museum. That evening’s program begins with a 6 p.m. panel discussion about how the closing of the state hospital affected patients as well as Central Indiana residents who developed mental illness after the closing. Attendees may browse the exhibit beginning at 7 p.m.

All three programs require advance registration on the museum’s website. “Then There is No Need to Speak” is $5 for the public and free for students. “I Remember Jones” and the “Leaving Home” exhibit opening are free. “Leaving Home” will be on display at the Indiana Medical History Museum through March 2017.

“Voices from Central State” is supported by the IU New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities program, the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. It is presented by the Indiana Medical History Museum and the Medical Humanities and Health Studies program in the School of Liberal Arts with assistance from Discover Near West Indys.

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Exhibit showcases World War II experiences of a soldier artist

Blue Square

INDIANAPOLIS — When Harry Davis, a Herron School of Art and Design graduate, went to war in 1942, he didEbb and Flow of War by Harry Davis Image so with a paintbrush in his bag.

An exhibit in University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis showcases his work as a combat artist and impressions of the war that Davis chronicled in letters, a diary and a memoir.

The exhibit is free and open to the public between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, on the lower level of the library, 755 W. Michigan St. The exhibit runs through September.

Davis returned to Herron as a faculty member in 1946, teaching there until his retirement in 1983 with the title of professor emeritus. In 1948, he married fellow artist and Herron alumna Lois Peterson.

Davis graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Herron in 1938, the same year he won the prestigious Prix de Rome in Painting, according to Greg Mobley, archives specialist. Mobley assembled the new exhibit, using materials that had been donated to the Herron Alumni Association by Davis’ family, records from the Herron School of Art and Design that are in the archive’s collections, and images of pen and ink drawings and paintings from Fort Belvoir, where they are part of the U.S. Army’s art collection.

“It was a matter of using his words and images to tell his story of that period in his life,” Mobley said.

The Prix de Rome allowed Davis to study at the American Academy in Rome and travel throughout the Mediterranean for two years. The award was extended for an additional year, but Davis, along with other Americans, had to leave Italy in 1940 when it declared war on England and France.

The exhibit also contains Davis’ impressions of Italy and his travels in the years immediately preceding the outbreak of World War II.

After enlisting in the Army in October 1942, Davis served in an engineering battalion stationed in North Africa and then in Italy, where he was assigned camouflage work. During that time, Davis wrote:

“The B-25 crews are very much attached to the bombers that have taken them on so many successful missions, and for each mission completed, they have a place just under the pilot, on the nose of the ship, where a mark is placed in the shape of a bomb, thus denoting the mission accomplished … they also go in for a painting of some sort, just behind the mission marks. Some of them had pretty girls, a la Petty, and others had cartoon characters. When they found out that I was an artist, I was busy the rest of the time we were with the Bomb Group, painting this sort of pretty girl and cartoon character stuff. The airmen thought that this was really fine art, and they were happy, and I think they were given a little more courage by our work for them.”

He also wrote:

“We were busy doing all sorts of camouflage jobs, for camouflage was found to be very effective in Italy. We were on the move, staying only a day or two in a bivouac area, and then to the next place. All along the way, familiar places and names of towns would loom up, for along this highway I had been many times before the war, but now, towns and cities were flattened.”

Davis returned to Italy in January 1944, disembarking on the same pier in Naples as he had when he first arrived in 1938. He met an officer who had been a colleague of his at the American Academy. At Davis’ request, the officer had Davis assigned to a combat division, where he served as a combat artist.

Among the paintings Davis created are:

  • “Ebb and Flow of War,” showing men from the 85th Infantry Division moving toward the front while ambulances carry the wounded to the rear.
  • “Sunday Service in the Field,” showing an Army chaplain conducting worship services for men of the 85th Infantry Division.
  • “Division in Paris,” showing the U.S. 28th Army Division marching down the Champs Elysees in Paris on Aug. 29, 1944.

He also reflected on the combat he saw in his writings:

“There was so much going on and there was an endless amount of material to paint, but I had no hankering for the kind of subject matter that I had to draw from, torn and crumbling buildings, dead dismembered bodies of soldiers, both our own and the enemy’s, and rugged and treacherous mountain passes that were scarred and pitted with shell holes.”

Davis received numerous awards and honors over the years, and his paintings are in the collections of museums, colleges and universities, corporations, and private collectors. He died in 2006.

Art exhibit offers insights into movement to recognize 100th Indy 500 race

Several artists, including Herron School of Art and Design faculty member Danielle Riede, have their Danielle Riede Wingspan Series Painting Imagework on display at an exhibit in Indianapolis that takes as its theme the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

The name of the show, “Asphaltum,” makes the connection between these two very different worlds: It is named for a component used both in pavement and in artists’ materials. In this case, Asphaltum is bringing together artists with work that expresses ideas related to auto racing and the Indianapolis 500.
Riede wingspan art piece

Danielle Riede of the Herron School of Art and Design created this piece for an exhibit connected to speed and movement, celebrating the 100th Indianapolis 500.

The exhibit is at the Schwitzer Gallery on the second floor of the Circle City Industrial Complex, at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street. The facility was constructed in the 1920s by Louis Schwitzer, winner of the first automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the engineer behind the famous “Marmon Wasp” engine that propelled Ray Harroun to victory in the first Indy 500.

“Last year, I went to the Indy 500 for the first time and experienced the race,” said Riede, a painter/installation artist and an associate professor at Herron. “I was really blown away by the sheer speed of it, so much so that I almost felt like I was in a video game. It was just really shocking to me.”

“When I went, I really couldn’t believe it. I think maybe if you have grown up going to the race, maybe it wouldn’t feel so impactful, although I can’t presume to know how other people might feel about the race,” Riede said. “But it’s nearly impossible when you’re up so close to focus on the cars zooming by.”

The pieces Riede is showing are from her “Wingspan” series. Like the auto race, the pieces are about movement, but movement on a human scale. And in contrast to the video-game-like speeds of the race cars, the paintings are made quite slowly, she said.

Describing the paintings, Riede said the images have a lot to do with the scale of her own body to the frame of the canvas. “And the way I composed them is by coming up with a movement, so I don’t have a preconceived image,” she said.

The movements were inspired by a dancer Riede worked with last fall.

“I begin with an intuitive movement off of the canvas and then record that same movement in paint. This gesture morphs as I move across the surface of the painting and an image unfolds.

“In some way, my paintings look a little like the curve of a racetrack, but that’s not what I had in mind when I was making them,” she said. “So, to me, it’s more about the contrast of human scale or even the feasibility that someone could fly around the track so quickly in these amazing machines versus what your hands could do with an older tool, like a paintbrush.”

“I guess I sort of see my own body as a tool as well, for making these works,” she said. “What we can invent — these technological devices to propel us at different velocities versus what we can do on our own — is a really interesting point for me.”

Asphaltum will run through May 31.

Exhibition | Herron School of Art and Design Presents : “Look/See” 2016

Date: May 4, 2016Look See 2016 Image
Time: 4:00 PM-9:00 PM
Location: Herron Art School And Design, Eskenazi Hall – 735 W. New York St., Indianapolis, IN
Eskenazi Fine Arts Center – 1410 Indiana Ave., Indianapolis, IN

RSVP for free.

Herron’s biggest night of the academic year. Look/See recognizes the achievements of Herron’s graduating master’s degree candidates with the M.F.A. Exhibition, which will fill all the galleries in Eskenazi Hall and the Eskenazi Fine Arts Center. Come and celebrate with students, friends and family, faculty and guests.

Honors and Awards
To start the party, join us for the Honors and Awards ceremony in the IUPUI Campus Center at 4:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and cheer the accomplishments of students and faculty alike.

M.F.A. Exhibition
Then it’s on to the 2016 M.F.A. Exhibition beginning at 5:00 p.m., which showcases pinnacle works by master’s degree candidates Greg Boll, Stephanie Cochran, Adam Dick, Emma Fiandt, Brandon Eugene Fields, Courtney Hacker, Chris Hill, Andrew Jacob, Jody Kinnermon, Shuyu Li, Kimberly Sue McNeelan, Mona Patel, Jennifer Qian, Ginny Taylor Rosner, Suzy Slater, Miranda Taylor, Ting Huang Waddles, Justin T. Walsh and Priya Ann Wittman.

Art Therapy
Herron master’s degree candidates in Art Therapy Shelbi Goble, Mohammad Kwesi Hammond, Elizabeth Jarrett and Courtney Williamson will display their theses for people to explore.

Visual Communication Design
Master’s degree candidates in Visual Communication Design Adrienne Brown, Galo Carrion and Rob Wessel, collectively known as Voltron, will have a poster display that highlights their thesis project contexts, processes, and outcomes.

This culminating exhibition uses all the available gallery space in both Eskenazi Hall and Eskenazi Fine Arts Center.

Think It Make It Lab
The public will also get a chance to see Herron’s Think It Make It Lab in Eskenazi Hall, which is chock-full of the latest in digital technology, from laser engravers and CNC routers to 3-D printers.

The festivities include:

  • Beginning to End, a Visual Communication Design senior show
  • open studios
  • tours
  • print and ceramics sale
  • refreshments

Herron to host Indiana High School Junior Art Invitational Exhibiton, opening reception

INDIANAPOLIS — The artistic talents of high school juniors from across Indiana will be on exhibit this Emma Myers, untitled photograph, 2015 Junior Art Invitational winnermonth at Herron School of Art and Design, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

Herron will host the annual Indiana High School Junior Art Invitational Exhibition from April 9 to 20 in Marsh Gallery at Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St. An opening reception will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 9, in the Marsh Gallery.

Each year, Indiana high school art teachers are invited to submit the best examples of their junior students’ works for inclusion in this juried exhibition. Prizes, announced at the opening reception, include scholarships to Herron School of Art and Design of $2,000, $1,000 and $500 for the first, second and third prize, respectively. The three prize-winners and two honorable mentions will also receive scholarships to Herron’s Honors Art and Design two-week summer program.

A photograph taken by Emma Myers of Lebanon High School was the 2015 winner of this competition.

Reservations are required for the reception.

Parking is available courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis in the visitor section of the Sports Complex Garage, west of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall, or on the upper floors of the Riverwalk Garage, south of the Sports Complex Garage, until 6 p.m.; and on any floor after 6 p.m. Parking tickets will be validated at Herron Galleries.

Anila Agha’s ArtPrize winner ‘Intersections’ to go on display locally

INDIANAPOLIS — Immaculate beauty.Anila Agha Intersections Image Courtesy of ArtPrize

That’s how Anila Quayyum Agha describes magnificent works of art that have the power to “bring you to tears and laughter at the same time,” such as a glorious sunset or the Grand Canyon at sunrise.

Those words also describe “Intersections,” the 2014 ArtPrize-winning sculpture created by Agha, an associate professor of drawing in the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The sculpture goes on public display Saturday at the Indiana State Museum.

Imagine a single lightbulb inside a cube made of six 6.5 ft.-square panels of wood with intricate laser cutouts and hung from a ceiling. When the light is on, the sculpture floods the room with lace-like shadows resembling architectural motifs found in mosques. That is “Intersections.”

“Intersections” cast its spell over visitors at the 2014 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, winning both the public and jury awards. The piece has taken the art-and-museum world by storm since earning Agha, who was born in Pakistan, an unprecedented $300,000 in that international competition:

  • The Indiana State Museum is exhibiting the original sculpture March 19 through May 8 as part of the museum’s celebration of the Indiana bicentennial.
    This is the first time the artwork has been displayed publicly in Indiana.
  • National Geographic posted online a video documentary filmed when the original sculpture was exhibited in Houston’s Rice University Art Gallery.
  • A steel replica, “Edition No. 1,” is on display through July 10 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. The exhibit opened Feb. 6. “Inspired by
    traditional Islamic architectural motifs, Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s laser-cut steel lantern conjures the design of the Alhambra
    Palace in Granada, Spain, a historic site of cross-cultural intersection where a thousand years ago Islamic and Western cultures thrived in
    coexistence,” reads the museum abstract.
  • A second steel version was displayed in Valladolid, Spain, as part of “Fear Nothing, She Says: When Art Reveals Mystic Truths,” a group show of
    contemporary artists at the Museo Nacional de San Gregorio (National Museum of Sculpture) Nov. 18 to Feb. 28.

It is an artist’s dream to create a work that stands out in its space. Agha’s “Intersections” transforms an entire room.

Her intent was to create a place where everyone was welcome, “a place to pray, a place to laugh, a place to dance, stand, and talk for everyone — gay, Muslim, Christian, Jewish,” the professor said.

“I knew I had built something sound, elegant, meaningful and with a lot of potential,” said Agha, an associate professor of drawing at Herron. “But I had no idea it would garner the kind of following it has over time.”

In fact, recognition of the genius of her creation was slow. She first entered the piece in an online art contest. Although the image went viral, it didn’t even make it into the contest’s top three.

A small sculpture — which served as the model as Agha figured out the dimensions for the prizewinner — hangs from the ceiling of her living room, which has walls clad with the original art of friends.

In her self-standing studio at her near-downtown Indianapolis home, a “remix” of the artistic concept, titled “All the Flowers Are for Me,” is under fabrication.

Other works in progress in the studio include intricate drawings made with tiny beads sewn onto paper using metallic thread.

Agha was a fifth-grader when she first thought of being an artist. She had completed a watercolor painting of a sunset as a classroom assignment.

“My teacher looked at it and said, ‘Wow, this is beautiful,'” Agha said. “That stayed with me.”

“Intersections” will be on display March 19 through May 8 in the East Wing Gallery on the first floor of the museum. The sculpture is among the “200 Years” public art installations, all of which will be on view free to the public.

The “200 Years of Indiana Art: A Cultural Legacy” exhibit, a signature project of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, runs March 19 through Oct. 2 at the Indiana State Museum, 650 W. Washington St. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8.50 to $13. For more information, call 317-232-1637.

An opening reception for “200 Years of Indiana Art: A Cultural Legacy,” takes place from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, March 18. Limited tickets, $45 each, will be available for purchase at the door.

For interviews with Agha, contact Diane Brown at habrown@iu.edu or 317-274-2195.

Exhibit | Herron to present rare exhibit of Japanese bamboo art

INDIANAPOLIS — An exhibit two years in the making and the likes of which has rarely, if Japanese Bamboo Art Imageever, been seen in Indianapolis opens March 2 at the Herron School of Art and Design on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

“Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art: The Rusty and Ann Harrison Collection,” an exhibition of 45 sculptural bamboo forms and baskets, opens with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Eleanor Prest Reese, Robert B. Berkshire, and Dorit and Gerald Paul galleries of Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St. The exhibition runs through April 16.

The exhibit artifacts belong to longtime Indiana art aficionados Rusty and Ann Harrison, who began their collection decades ago when Rusty’s business travels took him to Japan.

Plans for the exhibition began taking shape two years ago, when Herron’s dean, Valerie Eickmeier, was meeting with Ann Harrison at the Harrisons’ home in Attica, Ind. “The more that I learned about the Harrisons’ collection of bamboo art, the more intrigued I became,” Eickmeier said. “It will be an amazing exhibition for others — especially our students — to see and learn from.”

“Bamboo is as deeply intertwined as rice in Japanese history and culture. The most talented artisans made bamboo baskets for tea ceremony flower arrangements,” said Robert T. Coffland, an expert in Japanese bamboo art. “In the mid-19th century, a master maker and former samurai, Hayakawa Shokosai I, declared himself an artist. This break with tradition encouraged other artisans to begin individualistic experiments that drew upon Chinese and Japanese aesthetics.”

Four artists represented in this exhibit are among the few Japanese officially designated as “Holders of Important Intangible Resources,” commonly known as “Living Tresures of Japan,” in recognition of their mastery of the unique skills necessary to preserve an art form that would have otherwise been extinct.

As there are very few contemporary collectors of the art form, according to Coffland, the Herron exhibit will introduce mostly undiscovered works spanning more than a century.

Other exhibits to open at Herron are “Tales to Tell,” an illustration exhibition by Herron alumni, Feb. 24 to March 9 in the Basile Gallery; and “It’s Lonely Out Here,” an installation that features an idiosyncratic re-creation of Sputnik by Cody Arnall, Feb. 24 to March 16 in the Marsh Gallery.

Herron School of Art and Design’s exhibitions and artists’ talks are free and open to the public. Eskenazi Hall gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Reception | Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art

Date: March 2 Harrison Collection image-Torii Ippo, Piercing the Sky, 2008, 16 x 23 x 29.5 inches
Time: 5:30 PM-7:30 PM
Location: Berkshire, Reese and Paul Galleries, Eskenazi Hall

Herron School of Art and Design will present an exhibition the like of which has never been seen in Indianapolis. Discovering Japanese Bamboo Art: The Rusty and Ann Harrison Collection opens on March 2 with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Eleanor Prest Reese, Robert B. Berkshire and Dorit and Gerald Paul galleries of Eskenazi Hall and continues through April 16.

This survey exhibition will feature 45 sculptural bamboo forms and baskets belonging to longtime art aficionados Rusty and Ann Harrison, who began collecting when Rusty’s business travels took him to Japan decades ago.

Plans for the exhibition began taking shape two years ago, when Herron’s dean, Valerie Eickmeier, was meeting with Ann at the Harrison’s home in Attica, Indiana. “The more that I learned about the Harrison’s collection of bamboo art, the more intrigued I became,” she said. “It will be an amazing exhibition for others—especially our students—to see and learn from.”

Japanese bamboo art expert Robert T. Coffland said, “Bamboo is as deeply intertwined as rice in Japanese history and culture. The most talented artisans made bamboo baskets for tea ceremony flower arrangements. In the mid-19th century, a master maker and former Samurai, Hayakawa Shokosai I, declared himself an artist. This break with tradition encouraged other artisans to begin individualistic experiments that drew upon Chinese and Japanese aesthetics.”

A handful of Japanese bamboo artists have earned the designation Living National Treasure of Japan for their work, but there are still surprisingly very few contemporary collectors of the art form, according to Coffland. So the Harrison Collection will introduce mostly undiscovered works spanning more than a century.

Opening exhibition: Herron School of Art and Design offers relief from ‘rampant media consumption’

INDIANAPOLIS — Just in time to help shake off the winter doldrums comes “FABRICation,” Erin Castellans "Window" imagean exhibition co-curated by Reni Gower, professor in the Painting and Printmaking Department at Virginia Commonwealth University-Richmond, and Kristy Deetz, professor in the Art Discipline at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.

“FABRICation” opens with a reception at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul galleries in Herron School of Art and Design’s Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St., on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

The exhibition is making its way around the country, coming to IUPUI by way of Morehead State University in Kentucky. It will continue on to Midland College in Texas.

In addition to works by the co-curators, “FABRICation” features works by five artists: Erin Castellan, Virginia Derryberry, Rachel Hayes, Susan Iverson and Natalie Smith. Each incorporates a textile sensibility through elements of fabric and fabrication.

Gower said, “Inspired by a rich array of historical textiles, from drapery to quilt, these complex, multipart works contrast our culture’s rampant media consumption with the redemptive nuance of slow work wrought by hand.”

“Individual works range from delicate illusions to layered constructions to architectural interventions,” she continued, “created from a variety of materials, including oil and acrylic paint, vintage clothing, aluminum screens, wool, silk, plastic, thread, vinyl, burlap, rug-hold, glass, recycled objects and found fabrics. These works interweave sensory pleasure with repetitive process to invoke introspection and reflection.”

Aficionados of Herron galleries may recall Gower’s name from “Papercuts,” another show she curated, which visited Herron School of Art and Design in 2012. Gower expressed her delight at working with Herron again and looks forward to sharing “FABRICation” with students, faculty and the public. “FABRICation” continues through Feb. 12.

Also opening on Jan. 13 in the Marsh Gallery is an exhibition of works by first-year photography and intermedia graduate students and in the Basile Gallery, a solo exhibition of works by Indianapolis-based artist Michael Milano. Both shows continued through Jan. 27.

Funding for “FABRICation” was made possible in part by the Virginia Commonwealth University VCUarts Painting and Printmaking Department.

Erin Castellan, “Window,” 2013, 59″ x 46″, acrylic, latex paint, yarn, thread, fabric

Anila Quayyum Agha: Art, Education, and the Making of Future Creative Thinkers

anila_agha_mainDate: October 12, 2015
Reception: 4:30-5:30 PM
Lecture: 5:30-7:00 PM
Location: IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd. Indianapolis, IN 46202

A successful art practice need not be measured solely on commercial success but also on the quality of life of the practitioner. Artistic excellence in creative fields is often the result of a great deal of time spent in research: analyzing, synthesizing and then producing well crafted art or design work that is heartfelt, layered and relevant to our times. The source of my own artwork has been interpretations of contrasts and similarities, within cultures/religions/rituals of people of myriad cultures. This subject matter requires deep intellectual introspection, concept development and research to assimilate it into the artwork. Having a disciplined approach to exploring a broad spectrum of ideas helps to formulate the foundations for a successful and self-sustaining long-term practice. Furthermore artistic training provides opportunities to explore a wide array of interests and to experiment and innovate with a variety of materials/processes along with conceptual development and a mastery of the visual language to deal with the challenges present in our current societies and which is essential for success in the world today. Such skills are transferable into myriad disciplines for professional advancement for students while simultaneously adding value to their lives through personal well being.

About the speaker:

Anila Quayyum Agha is Associate Professor of Drawing and Foundation Studies in the Herron School of Art and Design. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She has an MFA from the University of North Texas. Agha’s work has been exhibited in multiple international art fairs as well as in over twenty solo shows and fifty group shows. In 2005, Agha was an Artist in Resident at the Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston. In 2008 she relocated to Indianapolis to teach at the Herron School of Art in Indianapolis and is currently the associate professor of drawing. In 2009 Agha was the recipient of the Efroymson Arts Fellowship. She has received two IAHI grants (2010/ 2015) and a New Frontiers Research Grant (2012) from Indiana University. In 2013 Agha received the Creative Renewal Fellowship awarded by the Indianapolis Arts Council. Agha won the two top prizes at ArtPrize 2014, in the international art competition held in Grand Rapids,Michigan. Her entry, titled “Intersections”, earned the ArtPrize 2014 Public Vote Grand Prize and split the Juried Grand Prize in a tie.

Agha works in a cross disciplinary fashion with mixed media; creating artwork that explores global politics, cultural multiplicity, mass media, and social and gender roles in our current cultural and global scenario. As a result her artwork is conceptually challenging, producing complicated weaves of thought, artistic action and social experience.