Al Malaika

Al Malaika



Dana Awartani

Artwork Title & Inspiration

'Al Malaika'

Translated as 'the angels', is a limited edition work inspired by the rich symbolism of eight-fold geometry in the Islamic art tradition. The eight-pointed star is commonly referred to in the Islamic tradition as the ‘Khatam al-Sulayman’ (Seal of the Solomon), and has also been described as a:

'Traditional ideogram of the four qualities of creation. As well as the four cardinal directions: North, South, East and West, there are the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water; the four physical conditions: Hot, Cold, Dry and Moist, and so on.'

Architecturally speaking the number eight is most commonly seen in various mosques and palaces in the form of an octagonal drum. The reason why this is generally adopted is due to the Islamic belief that, “the angels (will appear) at its ends, and, above them, eight will bear aloft on the Day the throne of thy Sustainers’ Almightiness.” Thus the octagonal drum is seen as a mediator depicting the transition from earth to the heavens.

The colours Dana has chosen are the typical red, blue and gold combination, which have an underlying language. The gold is a representation of the Divine Eternal light. The blue is a symbol of God’s Mercy or ‘Rahma’ and is always the colour that is used on the outermost of boarders to symbolise that  “Gods Mercy encompasses all". Lastly, the red is used purely as a colour to link them all together.

When this star is tessellated it is then known as the ‘Breath of the Compassionate’ - Keith Critchlow.

Artwork Category


Physical Description

Shell gold and hand prepared plant and mineral based pigments on hand stained paper


 25.5 x 25.5 cm (Includes frame)

Country of Origin

Saudi Arabia

LOT 60

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Dana Awartani

Saudi-Palestinian artist, Dana Awartani (b. 1987), has received international acclaim for her artwork and focuses on the different representations found within traditional Qur’anic illumination.

Dana received a foundation degree in Arts and Design and a Bachelors degree in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins before moving on to The Princes School of Traditional Arts where she completed a Masters in Traditional Arts. Specialising in geometry as well as illumination, tile-work and parquetry, Dana prides herself on using high-quality natural materials and pigments which she prepares herself.

Inspired by traditional art and techniques of craft-making, Dana is particularly interested in the relationship between geometry and nature and how universal truths can be translated through art using geometric principles. Her artwork thus reflects a traditional approach to art which seeks to visualise a sacred language through a symbolic and multilayered aesthetic. 

Dana is keen to revive historical techniques of traditional art which is struggling to survive in the modern world. She completes national outreach projects in schools and communities in order to further the appreciation of the traditional arts. She has exhibited her work in many international exhibitions including Rhizoma at Edge of Arabia, Venice Biennale, Jeddah Arts, Art Basel, Hong Kong and most recently in the Marrakech Biennale. Her collections are also included at the Farjam Collection, one of the largest collections of Islamic art in the world, as well as the Sheikh Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi.

“Islamic art is firstly not made for the sake of making art. It is a sacred spiritual practice that is used as a way to worship God and for God. It teaches one sabr (patience) and respect and as an Islamic artist, my work is a form of prayer and dhikr (remembrance).” Dana Awartani

Dana expresses her inspirations during an interview with 'CNN Inside The Middle East' (Source: CNN)

Artwork photography courtesy of Tom Gowanlock.