Hanaa F. Al-Wardi is an Iraqi-born multimedia studio artist based in Southern California.
She received her Master's Degree in Medical Microbiology from California State University, Long Beach, and Master's Degree in Fine Arts from the Claremont Graduate University. Claremont, California. She is the founder of the Museum of Contemporary Arab Art (MOCAA) based in Alhambra, California. MOCAA was founded in 2000 as a non-profit private organization, to exhibit her work and host highly accomplished artists from around the Arab world.
The Artist/Author and poet, exhibits her work nationally and internationally and has participated in numerous discussions and television panels on her artwork.
Her artwork features political issues, personal stories and environmental concerns.
A short list of her most prominent exhibits are included below:
OPERATION DESERT SLAUGHTER
IRAQ IS BRAIN DEAD
LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT
THE WALL SERIES
My art is heavily influenced by my background. I was born and raised in Iraq. My environment was filled with ancient structures, holy places, glorious gilded mosques, shrines with beautifully intricate tile work, golden domes, and massive hand carved doors and windows. As a child, I was surrounded by these amazing architecture and texture on a regular basis. I was fascinated and hypnotized by the beauty, intricacy of the designs and the vibrant colors. My Architectural artwork includes hand built doors, massive wall panels, windows and niches. Most are hand carved wood and forged brass and copper sheets then I Treat it with acid or other organic chemicals and leave it to react on its own. The artwork continues to react to the environmental changes like temperature and humidity, resulting in different colors and texture every day. I call it "living art" .
The fluidity of organic art is always my favorite. I love nature, rocks and stones. I love the natural formations of texture and colors. I examine and photograph every tree bark I encounter. I Collect, feel and smell the layers. My collection of unusual rocks and pods from all over world have traveled with me till they settle and find a home on a special table in my studio to keep my company. They keep my creative juices flowing. It influences my choices in colors, shapes and texture. The resulting artwork is soothing, free flowing and natural. Each painting tells a story about a certain moment in my life.
Working with clay is a thrilling experience for me. Working with organic materials born inside the earth connects my scientific background in Biology with my intuitive ability to create art. Ceramics is my story in many ways. Touching, kneading, and manipulating the clay is also very soothing and meditative for me. It is earthy and seductive.
I use the potter's wheel, a slab roller, and my hands to kneed and form objects. Many times, I combine all of these tools to create ceramic vessels that tell a story. I use the wheel to form a vessel and then I cut the vessel, manipulate the shape, carve or add to the object, and create something totally different from the intention. I feel very energized and happy using this process.
I use stains, oxides, and glaze to finish the story. Sometimes, I use acrylic paints, oil paints, gold leaf, and porcelain paint with low fire process. This method is reassuring in that it is flexible, safe, and certain. My ceramic collection includes several hundred pieces. The span of my collection over my life time tells many stories. Many who have purchased my ceramic work display pieces in their home and many find the organic style of my work guides the pieces to be on display outside in the garden, under fruit trees and surrounded by nature.
My ceramic collection includes objects, wall installations and murals, vessels, platters, sculptures, bowls, and vases.
Social and Political
My political and social art have evolved and heavily influenced by the rapid development of the events in the middle east. Inspiring Arab spring turned into violence , mayhem and massive exodus of the population to a safer place. I was fully consumed and saddened by the events and the fluidity of the reports coming from Iraq and Syria. Very sad and angry during this period. I started writing poems. Gut-wrenching and emotional poems and merged them into a series of paintings to be exhibited as one.
Museum of Contemporary Arab Art
Hanaa Al-Wardi founded the Museum of Contemporary Arab Art (MOCAA) in 2000. MOCAA is a non-profit private organization created to promote Arab art and culture to the public, both locally and nationally. MOCAA was also created for the purpose of educating the public about contemporary Arab art work.
The Museum houses extensive collections of Hanaa Al-Wardi is art work, expanding from 1983 to the current time. The Museum also holds exhibits for other contemporary Arab artists from the United States and the Arab World to expose and discuss the Art movement and the dynamic changes in that region of the world.
Read Hanaa's interview in DESTIG: Link
Visit Hanaa's website: www.hagallery.com