Anila Quayyum Agha was born in Lahore, Pakistan. Agha received her BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore and an MFA from the University of North Texas. Agha’s work has been exhibited in multiple international art fairs as well as in over thirty solo shows and fifty group shows. Recent solo shows include the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, National Sculpture Museum, Valladolid, Spain, Rice Gallery at Rice University in Houston, The Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, the State Museum in Indianapolis, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan to name a few. In 2005, Agha was an Artist in Resident at the Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston. Agha relocated to Indianapolis in 2008 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 two New Frontiers Research Grant (2012/2016) 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. For her creative research, Agha, was awarded the highest research award by Indiana University in 2016 titled Glenn W. Irwin, Jr., M.D. Research Scholar Award. In 2017, Agha was named the recipient of Cincinnati Art Museum’s 2017 Schiele Prize which recognizes the finest works of art and design by living artists. This prize honors the legacy of Marjorie Schiele, a Cincinnati artist whose generous bequest of the Hanke-Schiele Fund makes this award possible. In 2018 Agha was the recipient of the DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award to prepare her solo show with Talley Dunn art gallery in Dallas, TX. Agha unveiled her public art project titled This is NOT a Refuge, in the Open Spaces biennale in Kansas City, MO in August 2018. Her work has been collected by both institutions and private collectors nationally and internationally.
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.