Juxtaposition Arts presents For Every Piece of It, featuring work by Dina Abdulkarim.
While working within the traditions of painting and collage, Dina Abdulkarim draws from contemporary perspectives in architecture, urban design, and cultural identity as a woman of Middle Eastern and North African heritage. Utilizing the geometries of rooftops and skewed walls, her abstractions allude to the built environments of neighborhoods and homes from aerial vantage points.
“The work investigates urban dwelling in relation to personal and professional experiences,” says artist Dina Abdulkarim. “Because people adorn cities, a neighborhood is ‘hai’ in Arabic, the word given for ‘the living.’ But the neighborhoods I called home after my immigration smoothed the wrinkles of everyday chaos. I borrow from the miniature painting tradition, which depicts sceneries about home and communal spaces, to speak about isolation. Using radiant colors and intricate landscapes, the work explains that what makes a place livable is its social vibrancy, not only its built environment. My recent work replaces the ornate motifs with contemporary abstractions to investigate a new visual language. It also expands the sculptural qualities of painting as an object. I use wood and paper to give depth, yet hollowness, to the roofs. The voids and shadows in the compositions symbolize a disconnect from the landscape.”
Abdulkarim hopes audiences observe something about their own communities within the collection. “Overall, I would like for those who experience my work to realize that a holistic approach to how we design and build our communities is not only possible, but imperative as well.”
About the Artist:
Dina Abdulkarim is a visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. My practice investigates the notion of home and comparative identity in relation to the ties that connect my Middle Eastern and North African heritage with my American home. I am an immigrant. My parents are, and so were theirs. I moved across 20 homes or so and have not been to my homeland. I lived in communities that were quaint and edited, and others that weren’t. I borrow from the miniature painting tradition, which depicts scenes about communal spaces and social exchange. My landscapes combine traditional mosaics with the arabesque-looking agglomeration of roofs to speak about an embellished, detached suburban life.
After receiving training in architecture, urban design, and city planning, I completed an MFA at California Institute of the Arts in 2015. I am an Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California, and the co-founder of The City at 3 Miles Per Hour, which brings urban exploration and intergenerational play to cities.
Image: Me and the Neighbor, 2021, acrylic and paper on paper
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