Diana using the Crayola box. She doesn’t buy construction

Diana Al-Hadid

            Diana Al-Hadid was born in Aleppo,
Syria in 1981. She immigrated with her family to Canton, Ohio when she was five
years old. At the age of 11 she felt interested in becoming an artist. Due to
her immigrant background she was able to become a successful artist. Diana
received her Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from
Kent State University in Ohio. She also received a Master in Fine Arts in
sculpture in Virginia Commonwealth University back in 2005. Later in 2007 she
attended the Skowhegan School of painting and sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine.

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            Kholoud and Mazen are Diana’s
parents, her father was an insurance agent in Canton, and her mother had a
flower shop in Canton. After she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth
University with a master, she moved to Brooklyn, New York and she then took a
temporary job at a sculpture fabrication shop in Manhattan. On her last day at
the shop, she met her future husband, Johnathan Lott who has a master in
architecture from Harvard, they both had same interests such as architecture
and art. Later in August 2011, Mr. Lott sent to Diana an invitation to the
architectural event at the Museum of Modern Art, but unfortunately she canceled
at the last minute. Luckily they met few weeks later and got married in 2012.

            Diana currently lives and works in
Brooklyn, New York. Before pursuing in sculpture she spent a year in photography
and digital art, but later she felt working with touchable materials is more
exciting and will let her think more creatively. She uses industrial materials
such as polymer, fiberglass, plaster, resin, cardboard, and plywood. In every
new piece, such as casting, wood working, and carving, she likes to add new
colors using the Crayola box. She doesn’t buy construction materials from
stores, rather she likes to work and build things from scratch and many times
she collects thing from the streets of Brooklyn. She usually does blueprints
for the sculpture she’s doing, and then uses the material to put the pieces
together.

Diana is interested in the ancient ruins and architecture. Her work
is influenced by both western and eastern, for instance, Arabic oral traditions,
Biblical and mythological narratives, western painting, Islamic ornamentation,
and also astronomy and physics. Since she immigrated at a young age, she knows
how a person could be sentimental to certain place. She also stated “Ancient
ruins are culturally nostalgic objects that carry with them a distinct
psychological effect”. (Mann)i

Many of her sculptures give the feeling as if they are not
complete. Each sculpture is in different shape and form. Some are like towers,
cities, pipe organs, labyrinths and cathedrals. Some structures looks like they
are falling or melting or rising. In each work she does, she tries to discover
something new. Mythological and folkloric narratives helped form her sculptures,
and many which are as historical figure. She likes how sculpture and
architecture similar; both relate in how our bodies relate to physical objects
in space.

 Diana does not only make
sculptures, but she also creates panels, insets, and work on paper. Diana had
many exhibits but her first solo exhibit was back in 2006 in Greencastle
Indiana. She had many international exhibits, several places are Italy, Spain,
Japan, Abu Dhabi, Austria, Turkey, India, Germany, and Sweden. Her latest
exhibit was the Phantom Limb in May 2016 in Abu Dhabi at the Art Gallery of the
NYU. Many of Diana’s work were photographed and added in several books.

It is said that the inventor Al-jazari influenced Leonardo Da
Vinci, and he also influenced Diana Al-Hadid. Al-jazari is a Muslim inventor
who invented several things. When she read Al-Jazri’s “Book of Ingenious
Devices” she was amazed by his inventions. One of the inventions she liked was
the “Castle Clock”, the clock that tells time by water source. The “Castle
Clock” had several functions such as the zodiac and the solar and lunar paths
and five robotic musicians. Diana said “I decided I wanted to make a walk-through
water clock of my own”. (Mann)ii
and that’s when she came up with her sculpture “Water Thief”.

“Water Thief” the name was taken from an ancient Greek word
“clepsydra” and it literally means water thief. Diana liked the translation of
the word and liked the meaning of an untrusted clock so she named her sculpture
with that name. Diana’s sculpture “Water Thief” is not a duplicate of
Al-Jazari’s invention the “Castle Clock”. Instead “she
sticks to the clock’s basic mechanics, constructing each element and the
channels that connect them, including a gutter to guide the water from an
unseen source, as well as a reservoir, float tank, siphon, waterwheel, gears,
drum dial, and pointer.” (Ellegood)iii.

Diana has many important sculptures, one of her know work is Antonym. Antonym is a sculpture of a
lady without a head, made of plaster casts, she has one leg bent under the
other; Diana chose it be a young lady who is a yoga enthusiast. The interesting
thing about is that when you come up close to the sculpture you can easily see
the inside. The Antonym took more than a month to be completed. Another
unique work is Self Melt, illustrates the tradition of Islamic art. It
is unique because it could be seen upside down, it looks like an hourglass. There
are many more of Diana’s work to talk about such as Suspended after Image,
Smoke and Mirrors, The Tower of Infinite Problems, All the Stops
and many more. Each is unique in its own way, and each
person sees the meaning of it in a different way.

 

1000 Words