Mattar Bin Lahej; The Self-Taught Emirati Artist Using Steel Sculptures to Highlight Arab Heritage

His distinctive style and creative use of Arabic calligraphy force his art to stand out. Dubbed as the “Man of Steel”, Mattar Bin Lahej, who is self-taught, is one of the most distinguished Emirati artists of our time. Apart from his sculptures that decorate various spots across the UAE, Bin Lahej is also a painter and a photographer, with an art gallery, Mattar Bin Lahej Gallery, located at Dubai’s Box Park.

His journey to fame and success wasn’t an easy one because in the 1980s and 1990s, art wasn’t a priority in the country. Nevertheless, in 2003, Bin Lahej established Marsam Mattar to support local talent and promote art. Marsam Mattar was one of the first private art institutions in the UAE, aiming to teach and help artists find their way in art through workshops, exhibitions, and training.

Some of his most iconic pieces are “Aya”, next to Dubai City Walk’s modern brown mosque, “Power of Words” at Abu Dhabi’s Qasr al-Watan, and the stainless-steel Encyclopedia, previously exhibited at The Dubai Mall.

Scroll down to enjoy some of our favorite installations by this innovative artist.

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