Lisson Gallery

Announcing representation of Dana Awartani

30 April 2024

Lisson Gallery is delighted to announce global representation of Dana Awartani, an artist who engages in critical and contemporary reinterpretations of the forms, techniques, concepts and spatial constructs that shape Middle Eastern culture. Based between New York and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and of Palestinian descent, Awartani’s work is steeped in a multitude of historical references, notably Islamic and Arab art-making traditions, straddling continuity and innovation, aesthetic experimentation and social relevance. Spanning painting, sculpture, performance and installation, the artist’s commitment to historically situated and locally sourced materials lends a rare sensitivity to urgent political concerns of gender, healing, cultural destruction and sustainability. Consistent throughout Awartani’s work has been her philosophical elaboration of geometric patterns as an alternative genealogy of abstraction. Awartani continues to be represented by Chemould Prescott Road and Athr Gallery.

Awartani previously exhibited at Lisson Gallery in the group exhibition, 'Matter as Actor' (London, 2023), and was chosen by Adriano Pedrosa to participate in the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia 2024, titled Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere. Here, she presented work from her ongoing series, Come, let me heal your wounds. Let me mend your broken bones (2019-2024), where she meditates on themes of sustainability and cultural destruction. The work is composed of naturally dyed silk fabrics, handmade in Kerala in south India, which have been stretched onto frames or draped in a serial manner. The fabrics are saturated with a multitude of natural herbs and spices with specific medicinal functions, but are also spliced and disrupted by tears and holes, which correspond to buildings or locations that have been subjected to sustained violence or outright destruction through war, colonialism or acts of terror. Mending these punctures through a process of darning, Awartani’s work metaphorises possibilities of collective healing while recalling a venerable tradition of repairing and revering objects. Her material choices speak to the ethical and ecological terms of production and embody acts of resistance through the dual emphasis on artisanal production and indigenous knowledges. This approach can be seen in an earlier performative work, I went away and forgot you. A while ago I remembered. I remembered I’d forgotten you. I was dreaming (2017), in which she sweeps away a pattern painstakingly created from hand-dyed sand to resemble a traditional tiled floor, seemingly in the name of progress.

Other recent works, including Where Dwellers Lay (2022) and When the Dust of Conflict Settles (2023), employ the languages of traditional crafts and architecture, revivifying decorative elements and skills considered either lost to time, conflict or technological innovation. Rather than consigning history to ruin or rumour, Awartani restores and conserves it by suggesting future pathways that traverse the same timeless journeys taken by ancestors and artisans past, despite many of those voices having long since been silenced.

Find out more about Awartani's work here.

Announcing representation of Dana Awartani
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