Dana Awartani is a half-Palestinian half-Saudi Arabian artist born and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After finishing her International Baccalaureate Dana relocated to London, England to complete a foundation degree in Art and Design at Central St. Martins Byam Shaw and then a B.A in Fine Art at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. Dana’s artwork for her final degree show was influenced by traditional Saudi Arabian patterns and motifs to explore the cultural role of the Arab world in today’s globalised society.
Dana continued her interest in traditional Islamic pattern by enrolling on a masters degree course at the Princes School of Traditional Arts were she graduated with a distinction. It was here that Dana was able to discover the technical aspects of traditional arts and crafts covering a wide range of practices including manuscript illumination, parquetry, ceramics, stained glass, miniature painting, iconography, and mosaics. She 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.
Through research and her own practice Dana was particularly drawn to the perennial philosophy to which geometry and all of the traditional arts subscribe. She found geometry to be representative of a timeless language of aesthetics which, through its mathematical and visually democratic origin represents a universal language of beauty and harmony; in essence, geometry is the perfect reflection of God’s infinity and manifestation on earth as found in nature and His creation. Geometry therefore combines artistic creativity with an inherent logical system informed by Divine principles. With this in mind, Dana is keen to stress that her work is less about the artist and more about the art itself.
Currently Dana is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, were she continues her practice as well as private commissioned work. Along side this is also completes outreach projects to schools and communities around the world in order to further the appreciation of the traditional arts. She has exhibited her work privately as well as at Central Saint Martins and the Princes School. Further, four of her pieces are included in the Farjam Collection, one of the largest collections of Islamic art in the world and part of the Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi.
“As Plato said ‘Beauty is the splendor of Truth’… Traditional art provided this beauty on the external, formal level, which itself acts as a support for the attainment of inner beauty. This art also speaks, often in silent language, of the truth whose attainment constitutes the very raison d’etre of human life.” Syed Hossein Nasr