Kew Gardens’ exhibition: All the Flowers Are for Me

Kew Gardens‘ new exhibition, All the Flowers Are for Me, features two striking sculptural works by Anila Quayyum Agha, an award-winning Pakistani-American artist. The exhibition marks the UK premiere of these works, which explore themes of cultural connectedness, peaceful coexistence, and the evolution of botanical art. The two sculptures, All the Flowers Are for Me and Stolen Moment Bouquet I and II, are immersive and thought-provoking, offering visitors a unique and memorable experience.

Kew Gardens exhibition All the Flowers Are for Me monica costa london mums magazine collage

All the Flowers Are for Me is a large, laser-cut steel cube suspended from the gallery ceiling, which fills the space with intricate floor-to-ceiling shadows. The cube is covered in patterns inspired by Islamic art and architecture, reflecting Agha’s cultural heritage and her interest in exploring themes of identity, belonging, and inclusion. Visitors are invited to enter the cube and become a living, breathing part of the sculpture, surrounded by the intricate patterns and shadows that envelop them. The cube creates a sacred and inclusive space, where visitors can contemplate the beauty and interconnectedness of the world around them.

Agha’s use of Islamic patterns in All the Flowers Are for Me is particularly significant, as these patterns have a long history in art and architecture, and are associated with spiritual and cultural significance. By bringing these patterns into a contemporary art context, Agha is inviting visitors to engage with them in a new way, to explore their meaning and relevance in our increasingly globalized and diverse world.

Stolen Moment Bouquet I and II is a wall-mounted piece constructed from mirrored stainless steel. The piece is inspired by the botanical artist Albrecht Dürer’s watercolour painting Great Piece of Turf, which depicts a variety of wild plants in meticulous detail. Agha’s piece echoes Dürer’s attention to detail and celebrates the beauty and complexity of the natural world. However, unlike Dürer’s painting, which is two-dimensional and static, Stolen Moment Bouquet I and II is a dynamic and immersive work that plays with light, reflection, and perception. The mirrored surface of the piece creates a constantly shifting and changing image, reflecting the viewer and their surroundings, and blurring the boundaries between art and life.

Stolen Moment Bouquet I and II also highlights the ongoing evolution of botanical art and its continued relevance in contemporary art. Agha’s piece demonstrates how traditional forms of botanical painting can inspire new and innovative approaches, and how artists can draw on the rich history of art to create something new and exciting. By placing Stolen Moment Bouquet I and II alongside All the Flowers Are for Me, the exhibition creates a dialogue between different forms of art and culture, highlighting the connections and similarities between seemingly disparate works.

All the Flowers Are for Me is a thought-provoking and immersive exhibition that showcases Anila Quayyum Agha’s talent and creativity. The two sculptures on display offer visitors a unique and memorable experience, inviting them to engage with art, culture, and nature in a new and exciting way. The exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in contemporary art, botanical art, or the intersection of culture and identity. Children would enjoy the visuals.

 

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