5 Arab Artists that should be on your radar

Saloua Raouda Choucair 

Born in Beirut, 1916, Choucair’s work has only just made its debut in London. A painter and a sculptor, her work is often described as  East meets West, but she herself defines it as being ‘influenced by the world’. Her modernist structures harmonise with her interests in Islamic Art, science and mathematics.

As one of the most inventive, innovative artists of our time, Saloua tirelessly manipulates different materials in new ways and moulds them into her own vision.

“All the rules I apply are derived from the Islamic religion and from Islamic geometric design…nobody expected that I would have gone back to using engineering. I was so happy about that.”

I usually struggle to find meaning in much modern art, possibly as a result of my own lack of understanding behind the artist’s thought processes, but her work conveys a message resonant in Lebanon. The country is rarely graced with the time to mourn its past and is incessantly bombarded with wars, artillery and sectarian violence; Choucair’s work is symbolic as she uses what she can salvage from the past and transforms it into something positive and dependable for the future.


Ayad Alkadhi

Originally from Baghdad, Alkadhi moved to the UK after the Gulf War – his works have since been exhibited in America, Europe and the Middle East. Mixed media is the main art form he uses to express thoughts on modern socio-political issues. Focussing on Iraq and the Middle East, several of his pieces (Hanging) are a reflection of very macabre moments in the region’s history.

See below for a portion of his excellent series on identity, ‘Held by a Thread’.



Khaled Takreti

After years of painting, Takreti has switched direction in his latest collection ‘Complete Freedom’ where he explores issues of immigration and displacement. The Syrian artist channels his emotions amidst the crisis, crafting oeuvres such as ‘Les Enfants de la Syrie’ (Children of Syria).  This particular piece represents a disconnection of Syrian youth to their homeland as they cling onto the strings of their past and they float in an unknown direction.


Les Enfants de la Syrie

Interview with the artist on his collection:


Abdulrahman Jaber

The designer, photographer and visual artist uses the camera as his principle medium. ‘Situation’ is my choice series as his images highlight the resilience of Yemenis during the clashes. Despite the instability which wracked the nation, its people robustly continued to live out as much of their ‘normal lives’ as possible.



Laila Al-Shawa

This Palestinian painter has previously taken her work to the streets of Gaza and now transports it across the globe. Laila’s bright, colourful pieces aim to reflect the political reality of her homeland. Her work is a mix of digital, screen print and sculpture; it is her protest against Israeli gagging laws and an expression of the daily violent reality experienced by Palestinians.



Artists, if you wish to have your work removed please email thaqafamagazine@hotmail.com


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