The Silence Between Us


Date: Thursday 20 Dec, 2018 - Thursday 20 Dec, 2018
Time: 10:00 am - 07:00 pm
Venue: Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, United Arab Emirates

Maraya Art Centre is excited to announce its upcoming exhibition “The Silence Between Us: Poetry and Light in the work of Dana Awartani.” This exhibition will be the second collaboration between the Maraya Art Centre and the Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, and the first institutional solo presentation of Dana Awartani’s work in the Middle East. The exhibition, curated by Maraya Art Centre’s curator Laura Metzler, will open on Thursday 20 December, 2018 at 10.a.m at Maraya Art Centre as a collateral project for the Festival’s 21st edition and will run until Monday 18 February, 2019.

“The Silence Between Us” brings together pieces from the artist’s practice through her use of layering and the evocation of time through different materials to open channels for new interpretations and experiences of her practice. Poetry and light become key tools to both figuratively and (at times) literally reading her work, holding central roles in her exploration of the civilizational legacies that inspire her.

Awartani lives and works in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and has developed a practice by blending her conceptual training at Central Saint Martins with her traditional craft study at the Prince’s School of Traditional Art, thus creating a dialogue between the past and the present. She does this through a combination of textile, woodwork, and glass production methods that are particularly still active in India, as well as her manuscript illuminations. Through these mediums, light activates, distorts or reveals at different turns throughout the gallery space as the viewer encounters each piece.

The exhibition at Maraya Art Centre also extends to the main festival presentation at the Sharjah Art Museum with Awartani’s ‘All [heavenly bodies] swim along, each in its orbit’ (2016). This piece was inspired by a Quranic verse which gives the work its title, and is one of only two palindromes in the Holy book. Pulling from the intellectual tradition of the science of letters ('Ilm al-huruf) that has spanned generations of Sufi scholars, Awartani seeks a new method of expressing the power of this linguistic arrangement and property of Arabic Alphabet by applying her Abjad Hawaz system (alphabetical order and numerical value) to create a symbolic form.