At Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Big Ambitions but Mixed Reviews for Market Forces

November 26, 2019 - Rebecca Anne Proctor _ ARTnews

An intricate installation by Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani in the inaugural Al Burda Endowment Exhibition signaled a special kind of ambition. Initiated in 2004, Al Burda is a platform founded by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development for artists working within the field of Islamic art.

“Our mandate with the Endowment is to promote innovation in contemporary Islamic art practices,” Salem Al Qassemi, the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for arts and heritage, said of a show featuring work by 10 artists (and remaining on view into February, after which point it will be presented in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue in March).

“Exhibiting at Abu Dhabi Art allowed us to present to the public the creativity and diversity of Islamic art and culture.”


أشعار محمود درويش بالتطريز الفلسطيني.. والكمال دائرة

November 23, 2019 - فاطمة عطفة _ Alittihad

الفنون الحديثة تتصدر معرض «فن أبوظبي»، ويطالع الزوار في صالة «أثر» أعمال الفنانة الفلسطينية السعودية دانة عورتاني، وقد صممت هذه الأعمال خصيصاً لمعرض «فن أبوظبي» بإشراف المقيم الفني عمر خليف. وجاءت وكأنها طقوس تأمل صوفي خلال ممارسة دانة لإبداعها الفني.
وتضم هذه الأعمال ست لوحات تشكل الدائرة مركز رسومها، وتتكرر بأقطار وألوان ومواقع مختلفة، متداخلة في لوحة ومتجاورة في لوحة أخرى، وجميعها مشغولة بخيوط ذهبية، وهي تدل بدقة ومهارة على مدى الجهد الكبير الذي أخذته في إنجازها


Meet the 10 Al Burda Endowment artists showing at Abu Dhabi Art

November 22, 2019 - Alexandra Chaves_ The National, Arts & Culture

Islamic art finds new forms through the Al Burda Endowment exhibition, which is currently on view at Manarat Al Saadiyat. The initiative was founded by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development as a way to celebrate Islamic art and culture, but also support contemporary artists who are transforming the traditional form with modern elements.

In November last year, Al Burda launched its Endowment programme, for which they selected 10 artists to produce works specifically for the initiative that will then be shown at exhibitions and the Al Burda Festival in 2020. For the first edition, Al Burda has provided Dh500,000 worth of financial support to the selected candidates.



Abu Dhabi Art brings together ancient and futuristic creative designs

November 21, 2019 - Rawaa Talass_ Arab News

Curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif – who was recently appointed senior curator of the Sharjah Art Foundation – the handpicked “Focus: Drawing, Tracing, Mapping” section was dedicated to understanding the medium of drawing in profound depth.

Kholeif said: “Here, drawing is not the simple act of applying graphite to paper, but rather, drawing is performance and social sculpture, as much as it is about the study, diagramming and impression of a portrayal. Here, drawings reveal hidden histories and contour realities. Drawing becomes a means to see the unseen.”

Among the eight participating galleries in the section was the Saudi Athr Gallery, with a solo booth of serene drawings of circles by the Saudi-Palestinian artist Dana Awartani. Created especially for the fair, the gallery said the works symbolized “acts of meditation and moments of contemplation as part of her (Awartani’s) daily rigor of being an artist, a method she frequently adopts to quiet the mind.”


Saudi calligrapher Nasser Al-Salem’s modern take on Islamic art

November 4, 2019 - Hams Saleh_ Arab News

DUBAI: Jeddah-based Saudi artist Nasser Al-Salem has revealed his latest project, which will be showcased in the UAE’s Al-Burda Endowment exhibition — organized by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development — on Nov. 21.

Al-Salem is one of 10 contemporary artists awarded the Al-Burda Endowment in 2018. The endowment is awarded to “artists who explore Islamic art practices and continue to work towards developing contemporary Islamic Art,” according to a press release.


ATHR Gallery is pleased to feature Dana Awartani's solo booth at Abu Dhabi Art at 

Focus section, Booth A16, curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif

Made specifically for this presentation, Awartani’s latest works on paper act as moments of pause and reflection within her practice. In contrast to her usual highly intricate paintings, this minimalist and monochromatic body of work reverts back to the source of her inspiration, Sufi mysticism. Awartani describes these paintings as acts of mediation and moments of contemplation as part of her daily rigour of being an artist, a method she frequently adopts to quiet the mind.

Created on handmade paper that recycles leftover fibres from textile mills, these paintings draw upon multiple facets of her work, most importantly the role of sacred geometry as a visual language. In this case, Awartani explores the symbolism of the circle as a source and expression of Tawhid, as all of her drawings begin and finish within a circle expressing the multiplicity within singularity. By choosing to revert back to the purity of the circle, she reflects on the simple act of conscious re-enactment as a form of introspection.

Works such as In Search of Silence, aim to expand beyond the formal limits of traditional miniature painting technique and explore new languages of expression, ones that are more fluid, spontaneous and unrestrained. In The Union of Fire and Water, which brings two different temporalities together, Awartani takes a playful approach by encouraging the viewers to actively participate in the layout of the paintings.


Dates: November 21 – 23, 2019

Time: 14:00 – 21:00 pm