Come, Let Me Heal Your Wounds, 2020
Dana Awartani

Dana Awartani, Come, Let Me Heal Your Wounds, 2020, detail

Photo: Roberto Ruiz | TBA21
Installation view: How to Tread Lightly. st_age expanded, an exhibition, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain, 2020

Photo: Roberto Ruiz | TBA21
TBA21 on st_age


Installation with medicinally-dyed and hand-embroidered silk on wooden stretchers
136 x 477 x 15 cm (overall dimensions)
Commissioned by TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary for the exhibition “How to Tread Lightly” at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, October 5, 2020–January 17, 2021, curated by Soledad Gutiérrez

Come, Let me Heal your Wounds is an installation consisting of ten translucent and delicately colored screens made of medicinally dyed and hand-embroidered silk. Fifty herbs and spices—each evoking distinct cultural references—were used to dye the textiles. Natural herbs and spices have long been used for their medicinal qualities in South Asian and Arab cultures, and the fabrics were made in Kerala, India. Loosely mapping the annihilated cultural heritage of the Arab world, the textiles are an abstract representation of sites of destruction committed by Islamic fundamentalist groups in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen since the 2010 start of the anti-government protests commonly referred to as the Arab Spring. Each fabric was damaged by tears and holes and later repaired with embroidery. Artisans and the artist herself mended the 355 wounds to the fabric by applying the art of darning, a hand-sewing technique long used to restore woven fabrics. The project is a plea to safeguard ancient civilizations in the Arab world, a bid to recall the collective history of artisanship, rejoice in the knowledge of healing plants, and respect the venerable tradition of repairing objects.
Dana Awartani explores the geometrical principles of Islamic arts and crafts to reveal their philosophical meanings. Her works are continual acts of revival, transposing traditional Islamic art forms such as illuminated manuscripts, parquetry, ceramics, and textiles into the present. 


Exhibition: When in Doubt, Go to a Museum
Venue: City Museum of Ljubljana
Curators: team from the City Museum of Ljubljana, with Tevž Logar as guest curator
January 21, 2021 - April 25, 2021

Group exhibition: Abundant Futures
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba  
Curator: Daniela Zyman
April 1, 2022 - March 5, 2023
Born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 1987. Lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.