LOS ANGELES: A Saudi architecture and urban planning scholar, who has released a series of original artworks, told Arab News how her work is helping to bring different cultures together.
Dina Abdul Karim said she discovered a unique beauty in the buildings, streets and sidewalks of US cities where she teaches at universities.
Now she’s sharing her perspective and more in an ongoing series of original artwork.
“I like that creative capacity of architecture, but I wanted to do more art, and now I think my art is very much influenced by my architectural background and my training and planning in urban design,” she said.
Born in Saudi Arabia with mixed Middle Eastern heritage, Abdul Karim’s art combines American architecture with her pan-Arabic culture.
Using symbols such as the damask pattern, which Dina identified as being appropriated by western culture, she expressed how her identity has also been melded with “Americana.”
“I use different patterns from the Middle East and I overlay them with suburban with aerial views of suburban roofs and suburban homes in ways that really cannot unravel the two because we are assimilating in cultures we live in and we’re assimilating even with some degree with cultures we don’t live in,” she said.
After seeing a radical shift in how people interact with cities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dina hopes to use her position as an artist and educator to promote the exploration and appreciation of public spaces and to help others see the beauty that she sees.
“People adorn in cities a lot more than any flower pots or other items of street furniture. I wish people can come to the public realm and think of it as their living room and dining room and where they can explore and play and celebrate together.”