Special Events


Sunday, February 7, 2016 from 10am - 5pm

Location: Peabody Essex Museum

Join us for a weekend to explore South Asia's diverse artistic heritage through a contemporary prism of art, music, film, discussion and dance.

Made possible by the Lowell Institute and the George Swinnerton Parker Memorial Lecture Fund.



Intersections: Anila Quayyum Agha 
10 am-5 pm | Wheatland Gallery

Intersections is an immersive single-room installation that bathes the visitor in a geometric array of light and shadow. Inspired by traditional Islamic architectural motifs, Pakistani-American artist Anila Quayyum Agha's laser-cut steel lantern conjures design from the Alhambra Palace, a historic site in Spain where a thousand years ago Islamic and Western cultures thrived in coexistence. 


Treasures of the Indus, Episode 3: Of Gods & Men
11 am-noon | Morse Auditorium
Tickets available day of program

Introduced by Spike Geilinger (director and cameraman), the third and final episode of the series looks at the development of Hinduism from the earliest rock-cut shrines to the great temple cities of Southern India.


Sacred Spaces
1-2 pm, | Morse Auditorium
Tickets available day of program

Where can Islam and the West come together? Where can the traditional meet the modern, the secular touch the divine, exclusion become understanding? Join National Book Award finalist Carla Power (If The Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran) and Intersections artist Anila Agha for a conversation about bringing together opposing forces and inhabiting a sacred space. Moderated by The Tannery Series. Book signing with Power follows the discussion.


Writing Sacred Space
2:30-4:30 pm | Bartlett Gallery
Reservations reguired by February 5

We often feel caught between opposing powers - past and present, alienation and belonging, male and female, shadow and light. In this workshop, these tensions are tapped as a source of creative energy for writing. Guided by National Book Award finalist Carla Power, Intersections artist Anila Agha and Tannery Series founder Kirun Kapur, participants work toward creating art that accommodates contradiction and makes space for multiple possibilities. The program is focused on writing and spending time with Agha in her installation. Participants are encouraged to attend Sunday's film and discussion before workshop.

This workshop is sold out.


Imagine, South Asia celebration begins on Saturday, February 6


Special Guests

anila agha

Anila Quayyum Agha

Anila Quayyum Agha is an artist whose life and work embody the very notion of intersectionality, of transgressing the arbitrary boundaries of race, religion, gender, and geography.

Her 2013 ArtPrize-winning installation, Intersections, appropriates and transforms traditional Islamic geometric motifs, decorations that once symbolized difference and exclusion, to create an amorphous, all-encompassing, totalizing space that embraces and welcomes all visitors. This sense of crossing boundaries, both real and imagined, has permeated Agha's consciousness from her childhood to the present.

Agha is an Associate Professor at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions at national and international arts institutions. Residencies and awards include the New Frontiers Exploratory Research Grant, Indiana University (2013); New Frontiers Travel Grants to Mexico (2012), Spain (2011), and Pakistan (2010); and a Houston Center for Contemporary Craft residency (2005). Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1965, Agha received her BFA in textiles from the National College of Arts, Lahore, later immigrating to the United States, where she received her MFA in Fiber Arts from the University of North Texas in 2001.



Spike GallagherSpike Geilinger (filmmaker)

Spike Geilinger spent 20 years working as a cameraman and Director of Photography on landmark documentaries, dramas, and films. In recent years, directing has become the main focus of his work, and he has produced a string of memorable documentaries on arts subjects including The Genius of Carl Faberge (BBC 2013), Constable: the Country Rebel (BBC 2014) and Treasures of the Indus (BBC 2015). His work has been described as "revelatory" (The Radio Times), "knowledgeable and visually delectable" (The Telegraph).



carla powerCarla Power (in conjunction with the Tannery Series)

A journalist specializing in Muslim societies, global social issues and culture, Carla Power is the author of If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran (Henry Holt, 2015), an account of her year spent studying with the traditional Islamic scholar Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. She writes for Time and is a former correspondent for Newsweek, where she produced award-winning stories, reporting from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Her essays have appeared in Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and The Guardian.

"There are many intriguing books that trace the encounter of Westerners with Muslims from traditional backgrounds. Some are love stories, others are clashes. If the Oceans Were Ink is something more radical, magical, and much more relevant: a religious encounter mediated through a gentle friendship, one that is committed to a dialogue and a search for truth. In a world characterized by so much tension and polemic, Power offers what might be our best hope for a better tomorrow: an intelligent friendship. Most enthusiastically recommended."- Omid Safi, Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center

the Tannery Series

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