Art transcends nations and religions because it depicts a unique point of view that reflects the artist’s vision. It is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, and wonderful platforms in its own right. People who enjoy art are in touch with their souls as they travel through life in search of beauty through a variety of objects. The Middle East is one of the most fascinating areas, with its unique locations and rich history, providing endless inspiration.
Therefore, in order to shed light on some of the Middle East’s most renowned artworks, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the most intriguing paintings created by Arab painters over the years.
Tarek Al-Ghoussein is a Palestinian artist and a visual arts professor at NYU Abu Dhabi. His work, “K files” (2013), has been acquired by the Guggenheim Museum and the British Museum, among others, over the years. The process of understanding personal concerns relating to his Palestinian identity has become his main emphasis over the years.
Evacuation, We Will Return, 1983
Shakir Hassan Al Said was the creator of the Baghdad Modern Art Group, which aimed to establish a distinct Iraqi cultural identity by picking up the thread of Iraqi art left hanging after the Mongol conquest in the 13th century. Amongst his well-known artworks, is “Evacuation, We Will Return, 1983.”
Ganzeer’s codename, which means “bicycle chain,” is of a similar essence to the sociopolitical topics of his satirical murals, highlighting the artist’s role in society. According to the New York Times, “he prefers to think of artists as the mechanism that propels progress forward.” “Hands Up” is one of his spectacular artworks that talks more about the complexity of the political scene within the region.
Break of the Atom and Vegetal Life
Princess Fahr El-Nissa Zeid, a Turkish-Jordanian artist, sold this painting from 1962 for a world record-breaking $2.74 million. Despite being the most expensive painting ever created by an Arab, the picture failed to sell for the original predicted selling price of $3 million to $4 million.
The Whirling Dervishes
This Arab painting is labeled “The Whirling Dervishes,” and was painted in 1929 by Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said. It was sold for an astounding $2.54 million at Christie’s auction house in 2010.
The artwork Les Chadoufs from 1934, also by Mahmoud Said, was sold at auction for $2.43 million, much above its pre-sale estimate of $150,000 – $200,000.
The painting “Sarajevo” by Egyptian modern artist Omar El-Nagdi, painted in 1992 and sold for $1.14 million in 2016 at the Now and Then auctions in Dubai, conveys the essence of agony and is regarded “the most vivid documentation of existence” by Middle Eastern Art specialist, Masa Al-Kutoubi.
Construction of the Suez Canal
Abdel Hadi El-Gazzar, an Egyptian painter, painted “Construction of the Suez Canal” in 1965. In March of 2014, the painting sold for $1.02 million. Since 1945, El-Gazzar has become one of Egypt’s most recognizable artists.
Jamal Al Mahamel II
Suleiman Mansour’s painting Jamal Al Mahamel II is one of his most well-known Palestinian works. This is, If not the most well-known artwork from the Middle East in general.
Connection is a famous painting by Lebanese artist, Saliba Douaihy that depicts Douaihy’s ‘infinite space’ idea, in which its paradoxically ‘flat’ color appears to spread beyond the canvas edge.
So there you have it: a selection of the region’s most well-known artworks! The artistic spirit of various works of art reveals how passionate and unique some Middle Eastern painters are.