Dana Awartani seeks to revive traditional Arab forms, techniques, concepts and spatial constructs as well as historic artistic practices by infusing them with the contemporary. Reinterpreting Islamic geometric patterns as a highly codified and philosophical mode rather than a lost decorative art, she draws from a multitude of influences, integrating Middle Eastern and Islamic visual references. She also explores how manuscript illumination and intricate design can evolve in the contemporary art world. At the intersection of art and traditional craftsmanship, the artist’s works with locally sourced materials used in historic built architecture as well as vernacular and ancient design ontologies.
Her solo exhibitions include The Silence Between Us, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2018); Detroit Affinities: Dana Awartani, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (2017); and The Hidden Qualities of Quantities, Athr, Jeddah (2015). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions at venues including Louvre Abu Dhabi (2022); C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía (2022); The British Museum, London (2021); Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid (2020); NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore (2020); The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC (2020); Pera Museum, Istanbul (2020); Monash University of Art, Melbourne (2018); The Mosaic Rooms, London (2017); and Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, New York (2017).
Her work has also featured in biennales such as the Lyon Biennale (2022); Diriyah Biennale, Riyadh (2021); Rabat Biennale, Morocco (2019); Sesc_Videobrasil, Sao Paolo (2019); Jakarta Biennale (2017); Marrakech Biennale, Morocco (2016); Yinchuan Biennale (2016); and Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India (2016).
Awartani’s work is in the collections of institutions such as Sheikh Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi; Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna/Madrid; The British Museum, London; The Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; and The Guggenheim, New York, among others.
She was the recipient of the National Cultural Award by the Ministry of Culture, Saudi Arabia (2021) and received the Institute Sacatar Residency Award from the 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil (2020). She was artist in residence at NTU Center for Contemporary Art Singapore (2020) and at Delfina Foundation, London (2015).
She holds a BFA (2009) from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, and a MA in Traditional Arts (2011) from The Princes School of Traditional Arts, London.
Born in 1987 in Jeddah, where she continues to live and work.
Sharjah Biennial 15 (2023)