Dia Aziz Dia
'The play of childhood,' by Dia Aziz Dia.
whose creations are landmarks and artworks are timeless heartfelt pieces, is one of those unique artists who is always exploring and evolving while artistically documenting important customs, traditional architecture and life in all its diverse forms. “An artwork in whatever form it may be, can fascinate you, can make you think, ponder and recall. It stimulates your imagination, influences your soul. Once you see it, you never forget it,” Mr. Dia told Ithraeyat in an interview, and was one of the first Saudi artists to attend the renowned Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (academy of fine arts) in Rome. Born in Cairo in 1947
the award winning artist is a sculptor, painter, sketcher, photographer and a multi-disciplinary artist with over 40 plus years of contribution to the Saudi art scene and beyond. He is an artist who doesn’t limit himself as there is “no limit in art.” “Since the day I met my wife Laila, I tried to impress her with my artistic accomplishment. In addition, I always try to make my family as happy as possible,” he said. He has a son and two daughters, and eight grandchildren. An artist with many milestones, where he represented Saudi Arabia in various
exhibitions, Mr. Dia is the man behind the iconic Makkah Gate. “The Makkah Gate is one of my proudest creations,” he said. “It has become the gateway to the hearts of all Muslims. I am honored to have been part of creating a collective sense of nostalgia and a memory of a journey for all those who have passed through.” A magnificent structure that spans the width of the Jeddah-Makkah highway, in the shape of a Holy Qur’an resting on a wooden stand—it is indeed the gateway to the heart of Islam, about five kilometers from Makkah.
Also known as ‘Qur’an Gate,’ it was designed by Mr. Dia in 1979 and was built on an area of 7,296 square meters at a length of 152 meters and 48 meters in width. “I would like the next generations to remember me as the artist who painted life in the Hijaz, and designed the Gate of Makkah.” The childhoodrelated artworks featured in this edition of Ithraeyat beautifully capture the fun and the loving moments experienced in childhood. “I have lived a stable and happy childhood with my loving mother, father and sister. And I still remember all the games that I used to play with my sister and friends during my life in Makkah and Taif,” he said. “Childhood is an essential part of life that forms a
person’s character in adulthood, thus it formed an essential part of my art.” From the traditional games such as hide and seek, to searching for nuts in trees after school, to dealing with one’s naughty younger sibling, Mr. Dia’s pieces capture so many joyful and nostalgic moments. “I am currently working on a commissioned family portrait, and there are other projects lined up,” said Mr. Dia. Sentimental by nature, with a relentless drive to capture the world around him, the 73 year old artist has a message to new and future artists: “Work hard and be patient, art is an act of love…” And as captured in hundreds of his diverse dynamic pieces, art indeed is an act of love, and it needs dedication and sincerity.