Participating Artists

By a group of renowned Arab Artists


Mohammed Abla (Egypt), Abdul Elah Al Arab (Bahrain), Abdellah El Hariri (Morocco), Hakim Ghazali (Morocco), Hassan Massoudi (Iraq), Ahmed Moualla (Syria), Jamal Abdul Rahim (Bahrain), Khaled bin Sulaiman (Tunisia), Abbas Yousif (Bahrain)


Mohamed Abla | Egypt


The Egyptian-born artist gained fame for his unique style of blending European influences into traditional Egyptian ways of painting. At a very young age Abla knew he wanted to be an artist. 


He earned a scholarship to Europe through his first solo exhibition held at Spanish Cultural Institute in Cairo. He spent 7 fruitful years in Europe, after graduating from the faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria. His continuous traveling brought him broad exposure to the international art scene, a chance to study and exhibit in European galleries. 


Mohamed Abla’s works were very much influenced by the images of the past, their wealth of traditions and symbols. His art is seen as a kind of entry into a diary, a record of events reflecting time and position of his course of life. He created paintings of overpowering intensity, depicting Cairo street scenes in easy, free lines. 


Abdul Elah AlArab | Bahrain


Born in Bahrain in 1954

Abdul Elah Alarab is a renowned Bahraini calligrapher who was entrusted with calligraphy transcription of the Bahrain constitution in 1973.  


He has participated inmany solo and group calligraphy exhibitions in the Middle East and in Europe.  He also participated in many biennials in Dhaka, Spain and Cairo. 


Abdul Elah is a winner of many awards in Bahrain. In 1987 he won the first prize in Arabic Calligraphy from Egypt, and in 1988 he won the Judge’s Prize for his composition of the Arabic alphabet “he Haa”. In 1987 he won the first prize for designing the log of Qatar Telecommunications.


Abdullah El Hariri | Morocco 


Born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1949.


Abdullah El Hariri is a painter and a poet.  He did not develop his career gradually, but discovered his vocation for art later in life.  He was born into an artistic environment where he found himself naturally thrust into artistic debate.  He adopted calligraphy as a mode of expression, only to be recognised as the first Moroccan to do so. He still lives and works in Morocco.


What makes El Hariri’s work different is his devotion to the deconstruction of structure and codes that traditionally dominate Arabic calligraphy.  He has to his credit a whole vocabulary, grammar and style that sets his work apart.  


Abdullah El Hariri has maintained his presence in the Moroccan art scene for thirty years.  He attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Casablanca from 1965-69, and the Institut Europeen d’Architecture et de Design in Rome in 1973.  He is a member and founding member of many associations including the Association Marocaine des Arts Plastiques, Cite des Arts, Club al Baida, Maison de la Poesie, as well as the Syndicat des Plasticiens Marocains.  He has taken part in many individual and group exhibitions in Morocco and abroad where his works  have been shown with much acclaim in Tunisia, Japan, Lebanon, Libya, USA, Canada, China, England, Spain, Iraq, Belgium, Mauritania, and Kuwait.  Solo exhibitions include Galerie Alif-ba, Casablanca – 2000, Forum Casablanca - 1999, Espace Carrefour des Arts, Casablanca – 1996, Galerie Bassamat, Casablanca – 1991, Galerie Marc Pressin, Grenoble, France – 1985, Galerie Nada, Casablanca -1981.  


El Hariri operates on two distinct but complementary levels: first on the level of artistic creativity; second on the level of ideas and debates relating to artistic creativity.  He was one of the first artists to introduce Arab lettering into pictorial works.  


Khaled Ben Slimane | Tunise


Born in Tunisia in 1951.


Following art studies in the Beaux-Arts of Tunis and at the Escuela Massana in Barcelona, Khaled visited Iran, India and Pakistan; countries with strong ceramic traditions.  He was also invited by the Indemitsu Museum of Arts in Japan.  He had his first solo exhibition in 1985.  His work has been widely exhibited around the world – in Tunis, Paris, Kobe, New York, Berlin, Zagreb, Milan, London and Spain as well as in museums worldwide – including the Almunecar in Spain, with ceramics by Picasso, Miro, Artigas etc.  In 2003 he then took part in the exhibition “Arabic Scrip: Beauty and Meaning”, at the British Museum in London, and at the Ian Potter Museum of Art in Melbourne, Australia.  Also, he participated at the group exhibition “Word into Art: artists of the Modern Middle East” at the British Museum in 2006.  


Meanwhile, Kahled has been awarded several international prizes including the Honour Prize at the 3rd worldwide triennial of ceramics in Zaghreb (Yugoslavia) in 1991; in 2002 he received the Grand Prix International of ceramics in Vietri sul Mare (Italy) as well as the National Prize for Culture in Tunisia.  In 2004 he won the International Prize for Arts and Letters in Tunisia also.  Since 1990, Ben Slimane has been an elected member of the Academie Internationale de Ceramique in Geneva, as a consultant for UNESCO.  He lives and works in Tunis.


His works can be found in many private and public collections such as the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington.


Additionally, his works have been the subject of many publications, such as “Khaled Ben Slimane: De La Terre Au Ciel”  by Marthe Latapie; “Africa – Arts and Cultures”, edited by John Mack, London (British Museum Press); “Khaled Ben Slimane: Ceramices of Tunisia” Simpact 2004; “World Famous Ceramic Artists’ Studios” by Hebei Fine Arts Publishing House (China), in 2005; and “Word Into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East”, by Venetia Porter (British Museum Press) in 2006.  


Hakim Ghazali | Morocco


Born in Casablanca in 1963.


Hakim Ghazali studied in Morocco before moving to France to study at the Haut School of Art & Design.  From 1985 he has participated in many solo exhibitions in Morocco, Dubai and France.  


He also participated in many collective exhibitions in Italy, Bangladesh, Dubai and Syria as well as in many biennials.  In 2003, he won the first prize in Artiste du Monde, Paris.  In 2006 he won the first prize in Arabic Type Design in Linotype competition, Hamburg, Germany.  He also won the first prize in 2006 Sharjah Arabic Calligraphy.  Many private collectors around the world collect Hakim’s work.


Hassan Massoudi | Iraq


Born in 1944 in Najef, South of Iraq. 


Hassan Massoudi grew up in a traditional Iraqi society characterised by strong religious beliefs, a high sense of solidarity and a keenness for festive gatherings. As a youngster, in this town where all images were prohibited, he fulfilled his passion for art by making drawings and calligraphies while investing all his energy in obtaining paper and pigments. In 1961 he left for Baghdad and started working as an apprentice for various calligraphers. He visited exhibitions of modern art which fascinated him and from then on, started to dream of studying art. The unfolding political events and ensuing dictatorship prevented him from doing so. He eventually left Iraq for France in 1969, and studied at the  (Ecole des Beaux-Arts) of Paris where he first worked on figurative painting. He did not stop calligraphy altogether; to pay for his studies, he was doing headlines in calligraphy for
Arabic magazines. 


Over the years, calligraphy progressively emerged in his figurative painting and eventually took its place. In 1972, he created the show (Arabesque) with the actor Guy Jacquet joined a few years later by the musician Fawzy Al Aiedy. Arabesque was a public performance combining music and poetry together with calligraphies being performed and projected on a large screen. The drawing of his calligraphy became swifter and his gesture richer and whilst raditionally Arabic calligraphy is done with black ink. To better express himself, he broke from the tradition and introduced other colours into his work on large size paper. 


Hassan Massoudy’s works are a subtle mix of present and past, oriental and occidental art, tradition and modernity. He perpetuates tradition while breaking from it. Over the years he has purified and simplified the lines of his drawing. The words and phrases he draws come from poets and writers from all over the world or sometimes simply from popular wisdom.


Ahmad Moualla | Syria 


Born in Syria in 1958.


Ahmad Moualla obtained his diploma in visual communications from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Damascus before continuing his studies in France where he obtained the Diploma of the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs - Paris.

Moualla is currently a professor in the University of Damascus, and a well-established graphic artist, stage designer, and painter. His signature can be found on hundreds of posters, book covers, and murals.  In 2002 he was art director for the French-Syrian film Sungug Al Dunya.


Moualla has won the prize of the best foreign poster at the Munich Exposition, and the first award of the International Poster Competition held in 1988 in Kiel, Germany.  His first solo exhibition was in 1981, since then he has exhibited in Syria and many countries and cities worldwide, including Dubai, Cairo, Paris, Istanbul, Bahrain, Kuwait, Austria and Germany.  Moualla is known also for his many achievements as a graphic designer and calligrapher, and has created innumerable movie posters, book covers and advertising campaigns. He has been the cinography designer for many productions of the Syrian National Theatre, as well as a number of films and several television drama series. He writes in Arab periodicals on literary and cultural issues. In 1999 Moualla was awarded top prize at the Lattakia Biennale. He has served as a jury member for many plastic arts, graphic and photographic festivals.


Jamal Abdul Rahim | Bahrain


Born in 1965, Muharraq, Bahrain.


Jamal Abdul Rahim studied art in India and then, following a brief career as a fisherman, he moved to Bahrain to concentrate on producing works of great colour, variety and humour.  Inspired by Middle Eastern culture and the bold, contemporary styles of Miro and Warhol, Jamal’s style is engaging and uplifting.  Jamal fashions sculptures out of bronze, uses hand-made paper to create prints featuring squirls and embossed calligraphy, and applies acrylic on leather to create paintings magnificently diverse in style and colour.  One of Bahrain’s most established and highly regarded contemporary artists, Abdul Rahim’s work has been shown across the Middle East in more than 16 Arab and international exhibitions.  Jamal’s works have been sold at auction.


Jamal is an artist of many facets. Some of his work has a curiously Warhol-esque quality. He might take a well known figure or image, for instance the Mona Lisa, and then imbue it with colour, texture (through the use of oils) and often symbols of the Middle Eastern culture (a veil).  Others may cite Miro as a prevailing influence. Black and white canvasses are dashed, splashed or stroked with colour. Simplistic sun imagery lies alongside squirls and waves which overlay photo etchings. Jamal’s modern touch, which is often applied in a seemingly random fashion, is only found in the most confident of artists.  


In this exhibition, Jamal Abdul Rahim wil present his new venture into sculpture.


Abbas Yousif | Bahrain


Born in Bahrain in 1960 


Abbas Yousif  received a B.Sc. in Arabic Literature from the University of Qatar in 1982. He has participated in solo exhibitions:  in 2005 - Cultural Foundation - Abu Dhabi, U.A.E; 2002 - Albareh Art Gallery, Bahrain;  1994 - The Bahrain Arts Society, Bahrain. He has also participated in 2-man shows with Jabbar Al Ghadban between 1995 and 2004 in several international galleries in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, Syria, England & Denmark and in a number of international group exhibitions including biennials & triennials between 1993 and 2005 in Egypt, Jordan, Italy, Poland, Norway, China, Japan, Portugal, UAE, Bulgaria, Croatia, Iran, Kuwait, Germany, Macedonia, France, Sweden, Ukraine, USA, Denmark, Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Slovenia,  and Spain .  


His works are permanently exhibited in museums and public collections around the world and he has won international awards: 2002 - 1st Prize in Graphic at the 2nd Calligraphy biennial of The Islamic World (Graphics section), Tehran and 2000 - Merit award at the first painting biennial in Islamic World, Tehran, Iran. 1998.