Dana Awartani

Desert X AlUla; The International Art Exhibition Is Back And Exploring Ideas Of Mirage And Oasis

February 26, 2022 - Shelby Knick For Forbes

Desert X AlUla is a collaboration between Desert X and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) and is curated by Reem Fadda, Raneem Farsi, and Neville Wakefield. The site-responsive exhibition is the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia, building on the legacy of Desert X in California’s Coachella Valley. The project brings together artists, curators, and the community to create a space where art can be experienced on a monumental scale in harmony with nature.

The striking location in North-West Saudi Arabia covers 22,561km² and plays host to a lush oasis valley, towering sandstone mountains, and ancient cultural heritage sites dating back thousands of years, such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra. This 52-hectare ancient city was once the principal southern city to the Nabataean Kingdom and served as an outpost to the Roman Empire. Now, the city serves as a wonder and inspiration to historians, artists, and the curious. The exploration of the exhibition in the middle of the desert adds to the experience. Visitors can wander freely through the juxtaposition of art and nature, oftentimes having to look closely to find where nature ends and art begins, such as artist Dana Awartani’s sculpture. 


Desert X AlUla Reveals Artist List for Second Edition

January 18, 2022 - Tessa Solomon for Art News

Desert X AlUla has revealed the artist list for its second edition, set to open in Saudi Arabia this February. Site-specific works by international and local artists will again be scattered across the ancient desert landscape—a sprawl of sandstone mountains and valleys—in the northwest of the kingdom.

The biennial, which also holds an edition in California’s Coachella Valley, held its first exhibition there in 2020. Desert X’s AlUla exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Royal Commission for AlUla, which is led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.


Saudi Arabia's cultural scene is in a moment of decisive shift

December 14, 2021 - THE ART NEWSPAPER by Melissa Gronlund

“The best thing about the biennial is for the local artists to get a better understanding and sense of international artists who are working at a high standard,” says the Jeddah artist Dana Awartani, whose re-creation of the destroyed floor of the Great Mosque of Aleppo was a standout of the biennial. “A lot of artists here are used to producing and selling at galleries or art fairs. We’ve not had a not-for-profit space, besides the Saudi Art Council. For me, the biennial is mostly educational—we need the whole infrastructure of education, from schools to universities, to spaces like Hayy that will give you stimulating workshops and talks and programming.”


Saudi Arabia's Desert X AlUla announces details for 2022 event themed 'Sarab'

December 8, 2021 - Alexandra Chaves

According to Sumantro Ghose, artistic programming director for the Royal Commission for AlUla, the site will also welcome a new contemporary art gallery named Perspective, which will showcase works by artists from the kingdom.

Taking place alongside Desert X AlUla will also be an exhibition curated by Lulwah Al Homoud, What Lies Within: Works from the Basma Al Sulaiman Collection. The show will be the first in a series of presentations that focus on collections and patrons from the kingdom.

In the case of What Lies Within, the collection of Saudi art patron Basma Al Sulaiman includes works by Saudi Arabia's most established artists from the past two decades, including AlDowayan, Shadia Alem, Ahmed Mater, Maha Malluh, Mohammed Al Ghamdi, Abdulnasser Gharem, Dana Awartani and Adel Al Quraishi, among others.



Dana Awartani On Preserving Cultural Identity, Tradition and Championing Female Empowerment Through Art

December 8, 2021 - BY Ayesha S. Shehmir for Harper's BAZAAR Arabia

A multicultural woman of the world, the Arab artist is resuscitating the teachings of her ancestry while tirelessly fighting to keep ancient crafts alive – leading a wave of female pioneers who will make history in Saudi Arabia

“Saudi is thriving,” beams artist Dana Awartani, who, whilst born and raised in Jeddah, has found a home in many places. With Islamic, Indian, Palestinian, Jordanian and even Andalusian influences in her art, Dana’s identity is graced by several cultures. Her geometric work is rooted in her Arab heritage, taking form through parquetry, manuscript illumination, ceramics and embroidery. “I see a lot of artists who are from the Middle East and they go and study abroad,” she says. “Their work is very Eurocentric, it’s very focused on an American or European aesthetic – but I’m trying to find my own language.”


Sabeel Fountains: a creative collection of drinking spouts at Expo 2020 Dubai

November 5, 2021 - Farah Andrews for The National News

“Through these beautiful and innovatively designed drinking fountains, we invite visitors to take a moment to pause as they quench their thirst and consider their own connection to this most precious resource,” says Marjan Faraidooni, chief experience officer at Expo 2020 Dubai.

A collaboration between Expo 2020 and Art Jameel, the initiative began in September 2019, with the Sabeel 2020 open call. The design contest received more than 100 proposals and was overseen by an internationally renowned jury, who selected and awarded two design collaboratives – UAE creative studio Architecture + Other Things and design team Faissal El-Malak and Alia Bin Omair. The designers created Water in the Green and Nahel, respectively, collectively known as Signature Fountains.



Diriyah Biennale Announces Artists for First Saudi Art Biennial

October 14, 2021 - Sam Gaskin for Ocula

Curated by UCCA's Philip Tinari, the biennial features a strong contingent of Chinese artists including Xu Bing, Zhang Peili, and Nabuqi.

 Simon Denny, Sarah Morris, and Lawrence Lek are among the international artists who will show at the biennale from 11 December 2021 till 11 March 2022. It will take place in Diriyah's JAX district, which comprises over 100 refurbished warehouses not far from Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh.

Of the event's 63 artists, 26 come from Saudi Arabia, including Maha Malluh, Manal AlDowayan, Ahmed Mater, and Sarah Abu Abdallah.


Open Call Maan Artist Grants مـعــاً: دعوة مفتوحة

May 9, 2020

Maan was initiated as a response to the magnitude of the current crisis and its impact on the arts community and a continuation of Athr’s support of the art scene and its artists. It is intrinsic to our mission to proactively participate in their sustainability all while making art accessible to a wider audience and triggering change, particularly in times of uncertainty.  Initiated by Athr in cooperation with artists, the production and research fund consists of creating limited edition artworks by established and emerging artists to support fellow practicing artists.

Open to all Saudi Arabia-based visual artists, irrespective of medium of practice. There are no limitations concerning age, region or provenance of the applicant. If you are a visual artist and have a project that needs a stimulus of funds for completion or need seed funding for production or research, please see the link below and apply online.

For further information, please contact us via this email address.



بدأت معاً كاستجابة لللأزمة الحالية ومدى تأثيرها على المجتمع الفني واستمراراً لدعم غاليري أثر للمشهد الفني والفنانين. رسالتنا هي إحداث تغيير إيجابي وأن نجعل الفن في متناول أكبر عدد من الجمهور خاصة في هذه الأوقات الصعبة. يعتمد صندوق دعم الإنتاج الفني والبحوث، الذي بدأه أثر بالتعاون مع الفنانين، على إنتاج أعمال فنية محدودة الإصدار لدعم زملائهم الفنانين الناشئين

الدعوة مفتوحة لجميع الفنانين التشكيليين المقيمين في المملكة العربية السعودية، بجميع الممارسات الفنية. لا توجد قيود فيما يتعلق بعمر مقدم الطلب أو منطقته

إذا كنت فنان/فنانة ولديك مشروع يحتاج إلى دعم وتمويل مادي لإنتاجه أو لغايات البحث، يرجى الاطلاع على الرابط أدناه وتقديم نموذج الطلب. لمزيد من المعلومات، يرجى التواصل معنا عن طريق البريد الإلكتروني



Dana Awartani turned history into mesmerizing works of art

March 2, 2018 - Mariam Nihal for Saudi Gazette

A book of poetry entitled Classical Poems by Arab Women and Mughal era inspired mesmerizing works of art by Saudi artist Dana Awartani. Torn between the era of Mughals and classical poetry, she methodically reconfigured and crafted a nostalgic series of Islamic art and ‘Jali’ work with artisans in India on silk panels reminiscent of the royal era. Known to reinvent classic and sacred works of the past with a contemporary style, Awartani does not disappoint in her latest work for 21,39 Jeddah Arts at Athr gallery.


How the Saudi art scene is determined to keep up with the changes of its country

February 13, 2018 - Melissa Gronlund for The National

There is at present a remarkable flowering of the Jeddah art scene, a sense that the young and reforming country of Saudi Arabia – having been relatively isolated from the rest of the world – has something new and different to offer on the artistic stage.

Jeddah’s yearly arts festival, 21,39, took place last week, and its ancillary events this year stretched across the country. Organisers took international visitors to Dammam, on the country’s east coast, to see the gorgeously high-spec Ithra: King Abdullah Aziz Centre for World Culture, the Saudi Aramco-funded art and cultural space that opens later this year, as well as to the King Abdullah Economic City to see the country’s first-ever solo show, Drum Roll, Please of Ahmed Mater.

The Clocks Are Striking Thirteen, curated by one of Athr Gallery’s former directors, Maya El Khalil, showed works that played with materiality and symbolism in novel ways. And it had feeling: there was a sense of things at stake.