January 26 2024
6:00 pm

For Every Piece of It – Opening Exhibition


While working within the traditions of painting and collage, Dina Abdulkarim draws from contemporary perspectives in architecture, urban design, and cultural identity as 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,” explains 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.”