Ka’aba Love

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Jun 11 2017

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Category: Europe

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Why do I consider Dana Awartani’s contribution one of the high points of the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale?

1. I find it a beautiful work. It is hanging beautifully in space and dependent on the position of the viewer it reveals its different qualities. Being beautiful may not be a decisive criterion, but as for me it often does play a role in my appreciation of a work of art. And of course I decide myself what I find beautiful.

2. After a first confrontation the work invites you to take a closer, more detailed look. It draws you towards it. Looking at it from a frontal perspective it even sucks you in. A sensual experience that enhances the impression of having to do with an exceptional work of art.

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3. The white silk frames are embroidered with geometrical patterns. White on white, and a different pattern on each frame. The geometrical abstraction, prompted by Islamic tradition, has a subtle, calming effect on the mind of the viewer.

4. The careful precision with which the artist has executed the work is visible, tangible even. It emanates extraordinary devotion.

5. The art work is inspired by a book of poems by 12th century Sufi philosopher and poet Ibn Arabi, in which he describes his intense experiences during his visit to the Ka’aba. The seven frames and 8th centre piece of Awartani’s work refer to the seven circumambulations by Ibn Arabi of this key monument in Islam. I don’t know Ibn Arabi and I have only superficial knowledge of Islam. Amartani’s art work incites me to get to know more about her source of inspiration and about the cultural tradition from which it originates and on which it elaborates. This aspect provides her work with profundity while opening up more or less unknown worlds, a hallmark of true art.

These are some of the reasons why I consider Love is my Law, Love is my Faith an impressive and inspiring work of art. It is made in 2016 by Dana Awartani, a woman from Saudi Arabia.

Photos of the week: Dana Awartani, Love is my Law, Love is my Faith (2016), hand embroidery on silk, 200x200x200 cm, Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016, Kerala, India 2016

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