Doa Aly

Doa Aly

Bone Drawings

2007 – present

Initially, Doa Aly’s drawings referenced illustrations of the 29 bones that comprise the human head and face, as they appeared in the 25th edition of Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body (1949). Her interest in the human body and movement prompted a study of anatomy and joints, which led to the discovery of the early editions of Gray’s Anatomy

These early depictions of the particularly fragile and porous skull bones, embodied what she perceived as mimetic ambivalence: in seeking to make true reproductions of real models, the draftsman, Henry Vandyke Carter, produced beautiful and highly seductive images. Aly saw the images in Gray’s Anatomy as exemplary of the problem of drawing: to draw something is essentially to make it disappear. As Jean-Luc Nancy suggests in The Pleasure of Drawing, “drawing is the opening of form,” a movement away from the perceived model towards an unexpected occurrence, the unknown. 

From 2007 to 2017, Aly  combined the renditions of these illustrations to figures in motion, portraits and human limbs, to create drawings based on literary sources or historical events. The drawings were becoming more and more abstract and complex over the years, the anatomical illustrations were  hollowed out and condensed into skeletal outlines, which the artist layered to create ossuary mosaics: the accumulation of wandering outlines in search of a coherent form–meaning composed a web of intensities and vanishing points that were simultaneously forming, deforming, and transforming. As the eyes roved upon these lines and came back, the drawing became a space for meditation. Since 2024, each of these iterations is dubbed a Mojarrad, which means “Abstraction” in Arabic.

Drawing #39, 36 x 27 cm, pencil on paper, 2008
Drawing #55, 36 x 27 cm, pencil on paper, 2009
Drawing #79, 46 x 33 cm, pencil on paper, 2013
Drawings #70, 33 x 46 cm, pencil on paper, 2012
Drawing #80, 46 x 33 cm, pencil on paper, 2013
Drawing #95, 43 x 31, pencil on paper, 2014
Drawing #93, 43 x 31, pencil on paper, 2014
Drawing #81, 46 x 33 cm, pencil on paper, 2014
Drawing #84, 46 x 33 cm, pencil on paper, 2014
Drawing #90, 46 x 33 cm, pencil on paper, 2014
Drawing #95, 43 x 31, pencil on paper, 2015
Drawings #131, 54 x 58 cm, pencil on cotton paper,2019
Drawings #129, 72 x 58 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2019
Mojarrad #7, 87 x 66 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2024
Mojarrad #1 (The Simorgh), 130 x 100 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2024
Mojarrad #14, 130 x 100 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2024
Mojarrad #13 (The Simorgh), 130 x 100 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2024
Mojarrad #17, 130 x 100 cm, pencil on cotton paper, 2024