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Artist Spotlight: Dena Haghsay

Our next Artist Spotlight features Iranian ceramicist Dena Haghsay, who seeks to make a difference through the pursuit of human and creative connection, driven by the power of personal experience.

Artist Dena Haghsay at the studio

Initially trained as an architect and interior designer, Dena Haghsay began to feel intrigued by ceramics towards the start of 2018. " I was drawn to the distinctive characteristics and potential of clay as a medium and began my journey at the Kiln Rooms in London," she explains. Dena began a series of short-term courses and membership in a communal studio. "By engaging in self-teaching and rigorous practice at the Kiln Rooms, I honed my skills and strengthened my passion for ceramics. My commitment to this captivating medium grew, and it soon became my primary focus." She now teaches ceramics at two esteemed studios in London, sharing her knowledge and passion for ceramics. Haghsay additionally holds two masters in Architecture, one from Istanbul and one from UAL.

Dena's practice is centred on exploring and representing complex themes of belonging, identity, psychology, and meaning. "My inspiration and motivation are deeply rooted in my personal experiences. Through the process of repeatedly shaping forms, I revisit the concealed stories hidden within my unconsciousness and create consonant rhymes that may resonate with others. This transformative process seamlessly transmutes abstract emotions into physical objects that can be held, touched, and shared." For Haghsay, it is the point of fusion between intangible elements with the tactile nature of ceramics that facilitates a deeper connection between the viewer and the art, inviting them to embark on their journey of self-discovery and emotional reflection.

Artist Dena Haghsay photographed alongside her work

"I am drawn to working with clay due to the deep emotional connections it shares with humanity across time and cultures. As a constant companion throughout history, ceramics have played diverse roles in various settings and circumstances, reflecting our experiences and emotions and safeguarding them with a delicate yet resilient boundary. Ceramics enables me to delve into the intricacies of human fragility and strength, evoking emotional responses that mirror the duality of our nature, which encompasses both terror and tenderness." Through this exploration, Dena finds she can create pieces that significantly resonate with viewers, fostering a sense of empathy with the human condition.


When asked about her decision to support Artscope: Aid's Ukrainian appeal, her decision was also deeply personal and driven by experience. "I was born amidst the tumultuous Iran-Iraq War, an event that profoundly shaped my understanding of conflict and its lasting impacts on society. Witnessing the devastation and suffering first-hand, I came to understand the profound emotional and psychological trauma war inflicts on individuals, communities, and nations. The experience imbued me with a deep sense of empathy and compassion, which transcends borders, race, and cultural differences."

Dean Haghsay with works in progress

The conflict in Ukraine has stirred similar reactions, made strong by the memory of living through conflict in her own lived history. "Despite the geographical and cultural distance, the pain of war is a universal one. It reminds me of the suffering in my home country, and the similar experiences of people in Yemen, Afghanistan, and other conflict-ridden regions. This empathy and understanding, born out of shared experiences, impelled me to join the cause and make a positive impact."


As an Iranian artist, Haghsay's involvement with Artscope: Aid goes beyond mere participation. "I view the support as a symbol of universal human solidarity and a testament to our shared human experiences. I firmly believe that art, in its various forms, can transcend geographical and cultural boundaries, allowing us to connect on a fundamental level. In the face of war, we often see divisions—nation against nation, people against people. However, through my involvement with Artscope: Aid, I hope to demonstrate that despite our differences, we are all part of a global community. Our shared humanity binds us together more powerfully than any conflict can tear us apart."


Our auction ends bidding on 1 July, don't miss an opportunity to bid on Dena's donated works by clicking here, and scroll to Lots no. 1, 13, 14 and 16.


For more information on our artists and how to support our initiative, please visit our webpage here, or contact kate@artscopeintl.com.

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