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Rawan Abbas

Written by Cassie Mckenzie, curator, M.A. in museum studies. 

Rawan Abbas is a distinguished installation and fiber artist known for immersive and intricately detailed works which explore themes of human connection, fragility, and the passage of time. Her artistic journey includes numerous solo exhibitions at venues such as ARD Art Institution and Galerie Genscher. Abbas's creations have been featured in prominent group exhibitions and art fairs worldwide, including the Abu Dhabi Art Fair and the Dakar Biennale, captivating diverse audiences with her unique artistic vision.

The works stand out for their innovative use of fibers and ability to create complex, layered compositions. She employs various techniques to construct her installations, including weaving, knitting, and embroidery. Her style is both abstract and expressive, often incorporating vibrant colors and dynamic forms. The physicality of the materials and the labor-intensive nature of her process are integral to the meaning of her work, reflecting themes of connection, tension, and resilience. These installations frequently explore ideas of human interconnectedness, the fragility of existence, and the passage of time, using fibers as a metaphor for these concepts.

Rawan’s work from the Pine series (pictured above) demonstrates her ability to weave emotion and complexity into fiber art. In this installation, a network of red yarn cascades down the wall, entwining and connecting a grid of small, mixed-media artworks. Vivid red fibers create a striking visual contrast against the white wall, evoking a sense of raw energy. Her choice of color and material emphasizes themes of connection, entanglement, and the flow of life. The intricate connections between the yarn and the artwork suggest a delicate balance between chaos and order, with the threads perhaps symbolizing lifelines or veins pulsating with vitality. Rawan’s meticulous arrangement of elements invites viewers to explore the interplay of textures and forms, provoking thoughts on how individual experiences and stories are interwoven into a larger tapestry of existence.

Her work from the Tight Knit series (pictured above) exemplifies mastery of fiber arts, captivating viewers with complexity and depth. Composed of woven and knitted fabrics, pieces hang in a layered formation, drawing our eyes to detailed textures and vibrant colors. The interplay of red, blue, and white fibers against a dimly lit backdrop enhances the visual impact, emphasizing the handmade quality. Each segment showcases different knitting and weaving techniques, reflecting Rawan’s deep understanding and skill in fiber arts. The intricate patterns and varied textures invite close inspection, revealing the meticulous labor involved. Hanging elements evoke a sense of movement as if the fabric is transforming, adding liveliness to the medium. By suspending the tapestry in an architectural setting, Abbas creates a dialogue between old and new, rigid and flexible, bridging gaps between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary expression. The piece demonstrates Abbas’s technical abilities and invites reflection on themes of connection and continuity.

Through the Top Knit and Pine series, Rawan Abbas masterfully utilizes the medium of fiber to explore profound themes of connection, fragility, and the passage of time. Rawan’s work stands as a testament to the power of fiber art to convey complex emotions such as the need for companionship and concepts of growth, creating immersive experiences which resonate on both a visual and an emotional level. The use of threads and textiles in her installations invites viewers to engage with the artwork tactilely, fostering a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of life and the intricate tapestry of human relationships.

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