Dubai-based artist explores why symmetry is so satisfying

A piece from Series 1, part of the "1, 2, 3" exhibition. (Image supplied)
Updated 01 October 2018

Dubai-based artist explores why symmetry is so satisfying

  • Self-taught artist Nima Nabavi unveiled his first-ever solo exhibition in Dubai
  • It is a fascinating deep dive into the art of geometry

DUBAI: Self-taught artist Nima Nabavi recently unveiled his first-ever solo exhibition at Dubai’s The Third Line gallery and it’s a fascinating deep dive into the art of geometry.

Titled “1, 2, 3,” the exhibition is comprised of three series of art. Series 1, completed over the course of five months, features 16 black-and-white pieces in which a pattern of lines gradually becomes denser toward the center.

“With my geometry one of the things I like to do is take the smallest and most basic form, like a line that’s rigid, and try to create some sort of texture out of it by repeating it thousands of times,” the artist told Arab News.

“As you look at it in the very beginning, it’s open in the middle and as you move across this diamond of density starts shrinking until its dense in the middle. I wanted to show the possibility of movement, texture and gradient, but only use one color and one form — a line — to try to create that,” he added, noting that “some of the pieces have upwards of 13,000 lines in them.”

Series 2 marks a progression from the previous body with the introduction of color, according to a press release — eight different hues appear in each work in various sequences, resulting in polychromatic ripple effects. Meanwhile, Series 3 is a synthesis of the elements found in the previous two: Color, thickness, movement and size come together to replicate patterns found in living systems.

“I’ve always found peace — like all of us — in symmetry,” Nabavi said. “Everything in my life is messy, my brain is messy, so I’ve always really liked patterns.”

And he isn’t the only one, perfectly aligned boxes, sharp lines and neat symmetrical forms have fascinated many an artist and layman — you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t take satisfaction from aesthetic order and perfection.

The Iran-born artist is keen to explore why people are so fascinated by such art forms.

“Why are we all drawn to symmetry and geometry?” he asked, “Why do we like these things that don’t actually exist – it’s not a picture of a sunrise or anything – it’s this conceptual, mathematical object.”

“1, 2, 3,” is on show at The Third Line in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue until Nov. 3, 2018.

The Six: Musicians in the UAE

Updated 17 February 2019

The Six: Musicians in the UAE

DUBAI: It was an eventful weekend for music fans in the UAE, as numerous chart-toppers hit the stage in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Headlining RedFest DXB with Camila Cabello, this American rapper rose to fame in 2013 when his single “Thrift Shop” topped the US Billboard chart.


Also known as Nick Van de Wall, the Dutch DJ kicked off a weekend party at BASE Dubai, commanding a wild crowd with his best beats and tunes.

Jonas Blue

The English DJ, who has partnered with stars such as Zayn Malik, performed at RedFest due to a last-minute shakeup, replacing Jess Glynne, who had to pull out.


This American rapper thoroughly enjoyed his stay in the UAE, sharing Instagram stories of the Burj Khalifa and views around Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

DJ Snake

The French DJ and producer, who rose to fame after partnering with Lady Gaga for her “Born This Way” album, was also on the bill in Dubai.

Arturo O’Farrill

This multi-Grammy winner Cuban musician serenaded the Abu Dhabi crowd on Valentine’s Day in an open-air evening of classic mambo, performing alongside the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.