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Universal Resonance: Saudi Poet and Artist Hana Almilli Shares Stories of Alienation and Identity

Hana Almilli, a Saudi artist, was raised in a household that cultivated creativity and the freedom to express oneself. Her mother's gift for poetry and her father's support for photography ignited her passion for the arts. This upbringing, complemented by her Syrian grandmother's love for nature and fabric arts, significantly influenced Almilli's development as an artist.

Her diverse cultural background, comprising Saudi, Syrian, Turkish, Kurdish, and Palestinian heritage, serves as the focal point of her creative endeavors. Through mediums like poetry, embroidery, weaving, dyeing, and photography, she delves into her ethnic identity and personal background. Almilli's recent showcase at Art Dubai in March spotlighted her exploration of personal memoirs, history, and ancestry.

Despite the warmth of her family ties, Almilli grapples with feelings of alienation, a recurring theme in her work, evident in her ongoing series titled "The Echoes of My Alienation." This sense of estrangement intensified when she moved to the United States to pursue studies in architecture, a field that stifled her self-expression. Shifting her focus to textiles and creative writing, she found liberation and a means to delve into her poetry, which had been clandestine during her teenage years.

Her series, "The Echoes of My Alienation," features self-portraits and embroidered images of family members, symbolizing her journey of rediscovering her roots amidst displacement. Each piece is imbued with emotion, particularly evident in "Memoirs 2," where delicate jasmine flowers embroidered over an image of her Syrian grandmother evoke poignant connections.

Almilli's journey in exploring textiles paralleled her growth in poetry, with her once-hidden verses now published and intertwined with her visual art. Writing provides context to her work, offering viewers insight into the emotions and stories behind each piece.

Despite the deeply personal nature of her art, Almilli finds that it resonates universally, touching others who have experienced similar feelings of alienation or loss. She values the opportunity to share her story, connecting with others on an emotional level and fostering a sense of acceptance and understanding of one's multifaceted identity.

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