As a girl growing up in Pakistan, Hamra Abbas would draw pictures of whatever she saw around the house. Last summer, visiting her mother in Lahore, the artist spotted a small keepsake, a plaster cast of a curtain covering the entrance to the Kaaba, the Islamic holy site in Mecca. She made a picture of it. Now that image is emblazoned on the façade of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
“It sparked an inquiry about objects of religious significance in a neglected, sad state,” says Abbas, now a multimedia artist with an international career who divides her time between Cambridge and Lahore.