The following blog post is the second in a series of Facebook posts I wrote for Women's History Month, and to follow along with the hashtag #5WomenArtists, started by the National Museum of Women in the Arts. These posts were written to be an accessible, informative, and humorous way to encourage friends of mine to engage with art history and feminism.
HI EVERYONE. Me again. Guess what? In celebration of Women's History Month and #5WomenArtists, we're going to talk about women in the arts! Hey wow cool. You may have seen my post yesterday about gender inequality in the arts, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Today we are talking about Zubeida Agha!
If yesterday it was 1915ish and we were in Zurich, today it is 1949, and we are in the newly-created Pakistan! The weather is probably warm, and Agha has just closed the first museum show of any artist in the new country. Dang, fam. Strutting around with a degree in Political Science and Philosophy from Kinnaird College in Lahore, Agha decided that being a highly educated woman in mid-century Pakistan was not badass enough, and went on to study art at the Lahore School of Fine Art, the then-St Martin's School in London in 1950, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris in 1951 because she was worldly af. During this time she studied the old masters alongside contemporaries, such as (and in particular) Picasso. Upon her return to Pakistan, she settled in Karachi and founded the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Islamabad, becoming a patron in her own right to other Pakistani artists alongside continuing her own practice.
Agha's work is abstract, and there's a bold use of colour and focus on two-dimensional forms, with a clearly fauvist inspiration (think Picasso and Matisse, especially). Check out some more of her work here: http://www.vaslart.org/…/pak_masters/zubeida-agha/index.html
Zubeida Agha continued to practice up until her death in 1993, and in 2006, Pakistan honoured her by featuring her image on a series of commemorative postage stamps, alongside nine other Pakistani artists. what a rad gal.
the piece I've tacked on as the thumbnail to this post is "Urban Landscape," 1982. and as an added bonus, look at her in this photo chuckling patronizingly (we can only hope) to the two men she is with. look at her hair. that outfit. girl.