Dana Awartani pays tribute to mathematical symmetry
Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani’s art practice doubles as a medium for spiritual expression and a tribute to mathematical symmetry. Dana, who is exhibiting her unique style of embroidery at the biennale, marries history with symbolism to explore spaces for the contemporary, within the bounds of the traditional.
Dana is hoping to trigger a revival of Islamic art forms. “First, Islamic Art is not made for the sake of art alone. It is a sacred spiritual practice that is used as a way to worship God. It teaches one sabr (patience) and respect. My work is a form of prayer and dhikr (remembrance),” she says.
Her exhibit, Love is My Law, Love is My Faith, features a set of eight cloth panels inspired by the verses of the 12th Century Sufi poet Ibn Arabi, about his experiences in the holy city of Mecca. The panels are arranged in order of decreasing size, while the layout is intended to emulate “a spiritual journey towards the sublime”.
“Every number has a meaning. The number eight is my favourite, since it is so aesthetically pleasing, whether in mathematics, numerology and geometry,” offers Dana. “The mystic Ibn Arabi said that the eight-point star is a representation of the eight angels that will bear the throne of God on the Day of Judgment,” she adds. “It is also seen on a higher level as representing rebirth. Even the Dome of the Rock — an ancient shrine in Jerusalem — was built on an eight-figure base.” Her effort is to familiarise the contemporary world with Islamic art, using the medium of mathematics, asserts the artist.
Love is My Law, Love is My Faith is on display at David Hall until March 29.