This October, we will be celebrating the Arab women who have raised Middle Eastern art on the international artistic platform. In this post, we filtered our favourites down to five Modern and Contemporary women artists. Let us know who your favourites are too!

Saloua Raouda Choucair:

Choucair was born on the 24th June of 1916.  Ms. Choucair was a Lebanese painter and sculptor known for her passion and for her creations in combining Architectural design and Islamic Geometric Design in her artworks. Her Outstanding works was remarkable in her era and continuously appreciated in this generation. In an interview, Ms. Choucair went on to say that her works “wasn’t an influence by the European art, but was mainly universal Influence”. She had a bright mindset for the future of science and Art. At 96 years of age in 2013, the artist had her first museum exhibition held by Tate Modern wherein her sculptures and over 120 of her works were displayed. People inside and outside of Beirut were definitely amazed by her love for art and enthusiasm in the field of discovery. In an interview by Tate Modern, Choucair‘s daughter Hala Choukair, discussing her mom’s work, “she was not sick of modern time, she wasn’t nostalgic, she believed in the future. She believes in science and exploring space.”   

Mona Hatoum:

Born in Beirut in 1952, Mona Hatoum is a Palestinian Contemporary artist. She studied at Beirut University College as a Graphic design student. She then traveled to England for a visit, but as the war broke out in Beirut, she stayed for good. The Palestinian artist is poetic and uses her voice in creating a vision wherein she talks about politics and gender. She reveals complications and conflict from different parts of the world. Her works are eye opening to general issues and an insight on emotions retained. Along with it, she creates a voice by Installation art. In an interview by Tate, Mona Hatoum states that “nothing is a finished project, I feel like everything has possibilities of more experimentation or more pushing of ideas”.

Samia Halaby:

Palestinian artist Samia Halaby (Born 1936) lives in New York and known as the leading Arab Abstract Contemporary painter. The artist shows growth and invention in her paintings and connects through picture making. Her extraordinary artworks talks about Life and visualization. Ms. Halaby was interviewed by Ayyam Gallery London, wherein she spoke about her works and viewpoint:

The visual world of painting is more interesting to me, and I consider it very significant and important human language and this is where I put my effort. In the history of criticism and art, abstract painting is supposed to be not connected to reality, it’s supposed to be “non objective” and born out of the mind of the artist, and self expression of the artist, in my view of painting and abstraction, all of that is false. Abstraction is about nature and reality. It is the most advanced way to represent reality.

Inji Efflatoun:

Egyptian painter, Inji Efflatoun was born in 1924 in Cairo, Egypt. She was a Visual artist and an activist that focused on women’s right movement. The painter showed her rebellion on her early works. Her first work was a girl trying to run away from a raging fire. Her paintings were important wherein it spoke strongly on women, art and politics.

Hayv Kahraman:

Iraqi Artist, Hayv Kahraman is the youngest artist on our list. She was born in Iraq in 1981 and her work strongly talks about gender issues, focusing mostly on the female figure and female identity.  Her artworks are extraordinary as she combines different issues regarding the tradition and the conception of gender and has it as a statement.

Image courtesy and artwork detail in captions.