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Dana Awartani: Designing The Geometric Harmony in Islamic Art

Rhizoma, the Edge of Arabia exhibition at the 55th Venice Art Biennale.Armed with a passion for Islamic patterns and motifs, Dana Awartani’s interest in traditional shapes is evident in all of her artwork. Raised in Jeddah, the half-Palestinian half-Saudi Arabian artist completed her foundation degree in Art and Design from Central St. Martins Byam Shaw, and then followed it up with a Bachelor in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design.

Awartani’s artwork for her final degree show there was influenced by traditional Saudi Arabian patterns and motifs; which explored the cultural role of the Arab world in today’s globalized society. This further paved the path of her successive Islamic Art fascination, which consequently plays an influential role in her artworks and creative ventures.

Adamant to continue understanding her fascination with Islamic Art, Awartani continued her studies with a Masters Degree course at the Princes School of Traditional Arts, where she was able to discover the technical aspects of traditional arts and crafts. The course covered a wide range of practices, which included manuscript illumination, parquetry, ceramics, stained glass, miniature painting, iconography, and mosaics. Awartani explains, “I was inspired by how all of these artistic disciplines, which hail from a diverse range of religious and cultural contexts, all share a common origin in mathematical and geometrical principles.”

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Through research and her own practice, the artist found herself particularly drawn to the perennial philosophy to which geometry and all of those traditional arts subscribe to. According to Awartani, “geometry represents a timeless language of aesthetics which, through its mathematical and visually democratic origin represents a universal language of beauty and harmony.” She finds that geometry is the perfect reflection of God’s infinity and manifestation on earth as found in nature and His creation. She further elaborates, “Geometry combines artistic creativity with an inherent logical system informed by Divine principles.” With that in mind, Dana is keen to stress that her work is less about the artist and more about the art itself.

Currently, Awartani is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where she maintains her practice as well as accepts private commissions. In addition to making art, she also takes part in outreach projects to schools and communities around the world to further advance the appreciation of the traditional arts. Her artworks have graced the walls of the largest museums around the world including the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi and have also been added to various collections of Islamic Art worldwide.

For more information about Dana Awartani visit www.danaawartani.com

– Noufa Al-Sabah

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