Aglaia Papa studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Nikolaos Lytras, Konstantinos Parthenis and Thomas Thomopoulos. While still on Corfu, she had studied under Markos Zavitsianos and K. Parthenis. After graduating from the Athens School of Fine Arts, she went on to study in Trieste and Milan, as well as Vienna, where she studied history of art. Teaching the arts in professional schools interested her from early on. When she returned to Greece, she became a teacher of painting and interior design at the Amalieion Orphanage Vocational School. She was member of art groups “Techni” and “Stathmi”, as well as of the Chamber of Fine Arts in Greece (EETE) and the Greek Women Artists Association.

She became very active as an artist and was favourably received by her contemporary critics. She had several personal exhibitions and participated in group shows in Greece and other countries (including the Venice Biennale in 1934 and 1936, and the Alexandria Biennale in 1957).
Her favourite subjects are landscapes and portraiture, in which she adopted the solid, geometrically referenced synthetic canon she was taught by Parthenis. By the 1960s, her work had become abstract.

In 1980, The National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum organised a retrospective exhibition of her works.