The works of Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani explore the geometrical principles of Islamic arts and crafts to reveal their highly developed philosophical meanings. Her works are continual acts of revival, where she brings traditional Islamic art forms into the present through illuminated manuscripts, parquetry, ceramics, and textiles.
Come, Let me Heal your Wounds (2020) is an installation comprising of medicinally-dyed and hand embroidered silk. Dozens of herbs and spices—each with their own particular cultural references—were used to create the textiles. Tears and holes were made in the fabric in locations corresponding to acts of cultural destruction committed by Islamic fundamentalist groups in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Iraq, Egypt, and Yemen since the start of the Arab Spring anti government protests in 2010. All 355 of these wounds were then repaired by artisans and the artist herself through the art of darning, a hand sewing technique long used to mend or restore woven fabric. There is no cartographic correlation to each panel. Instead the textiles are a borderless representation of annihilated cultural heritage. The project is a plea to safeguard ancient civilizations in the Arab world, a bid to recall the collective history of artisanship, to rejoice in the knowledge of healing plants, and to respect the venerable tradition of revering objects.
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st_age, is a digital platform launched by TBA21 as a response to the Covid-19 crisis to present newly produced works. It aims to offer refuge and support and at the same time to establish ground for discussion and collaboration between different disciplines and generations in order to build the foundations of a new cultural space.