Dana Awartani

Dana Awartani

Saudi-Palestinian Dana Awartani was born in 1987 in Jeddah, where she lives and works. Ranging from painting and sculpture to performance and multimedia installation, Awartani’s artistic practice imbues forms, techniques, concepts, and spatial constructs that define Arab culture with contemporary awareness. Her work spans a variety of materials and techniques and often revolves around the highly codified and symbolically laden language of geometry in reference to notions of universal interconnectedness and spiritual harmony. The timeless relevance of forms and the wisdom embedded in traditional crafts are harnessed to tackle issues of gender, healing, cultural destruction, and sustainability in a constant effort to straddle continuity and innovation, aesthetic experimentation and social relevance.

When the Dust of Conflict Settles 2023, Hand carving on griesa, jerashi, madaba, hoota and qassimi stone, Various dimensions. Image courtesy of the Artist and Athr Gallery

Traditionally trained at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London, she received her master’s after her BA and Foundation degrees at Central Saint Martins. She is currently furthering her practice and commitment to preservation of Islamic illumination skills through the completion of an ‘Ijaza’ certificate.

Awartani has had solo exhibitions in Sharjah, Detroit and Jeddah, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Spain, Singapore, the United States, Turkey, Australia, and the United Kingdom, as well as participating in biennales in Lyon, Riyadh, Rabat, Sao Paolo, Jakarta, Marrakech, Yinchuan, and India. Her work is in the collections of the Sheikh Zayed National Museum, Jameel Arts Centre, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, the British Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum, and the Guggenheim Museum, among others.

Standing by the Ruins of Aleppo, 2021, Clay Earth, 2277 cm x 1300 cm. Images courtesy of the Dariyah Biennale Foundation and Canvas. Image courtesy of the Artist and Athr Gallery

Inspired by the ancient method of ‘Adobe’ Building, a method of architecture that uses earth and organic materials, and found around the world, the artist has produced the work mindfully skipping the crucial steps that temper and solidify the earth tiles. Instead, the work is allowed to crack, deteriorate and eventually crumble over the course of the exhibition, reflecting on the destruction of the Middle East built heritage.

Standing by the Ruins of Aleppo, 2021, Clay Earth, 2277 cm x 1300 cm. Images courtesy of the Dariyah Biennale Foundation and Canvas. Image courtesy of the Artist and Athr Gallery

This version of the article was published on Selections Print issue #63

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