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Modernism in the Middle East and Arab World

Exploring modernity and its intellectual trends in the Middle East is a very fitting endeavour, as ‘Middle East’ itself is a ‘modern’ term which has…

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al-Attar, Suad (1942--)

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Suad al-Attar moved to London in 1976. She holds a prominent position within the narrative of Iraqi modern and contemporary art…

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Sabri, Atta (1912–1988)

Born in Kirkuk, Iraq, Atta Sabri was among the pioneer generation of Iraqi modern artists with careers peaking in the mid-20th century. He was an…

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Hikmet, Mohammed Ghani (1929–2011)

Mohammed Ghani Hikmet is considered one of Iraq’s most prolific artists and influential modern sculptors. Hikmet is best known for his monumental sculptures that dot…

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Jader, Khalid al- (1922–1988)

Dr Khalid al-Jader was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He had a distinguished career as an Iraqi artist, scholar, and administrator throughout the mid-20th century. He…

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Yousef, Saadi (1934–)

Saadi Yousef is an Iraqi poet, author, journalist, and political activist. He has published 45 volumes of poetry, nine books of prose, several essays and…

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Haidar, Kadhim (1932–1985)

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Kadhim Haidar studied art at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad after receiving a degree in Arabic Studies from the…

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Hassan, Faiq (1914–1992)

Faiq Hassan was among the pioneers of Iraqi modern art. Along with Jewad Selim and Hafidh al-Droubi, Hassan held a premier position in the development…

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Umar, Madiha (1908–2005)

Madiha Umar was the first Iraqi woman to receive a governmental scholarship to travel to Europe, where she officially studied education but also began art…

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Droubi, Hafidh al- (1914–1991)

Considered an important figure in the development of art education in Iraq, Hafidh al-Droubi held important posts during his career including the Deanship of the…

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al-`Ayni, Yusuf (1927–)

A playwright, actor, and director, Yusuf al-`Ayni was instrumental in the development of Iraqi theater from the 1950s through the 1970s. His three-decades-long career coincides…

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Nasiri, Rafa al- (1940–2013)

Born in Tikrit, Iraq, Rafa al-Nasiri earned a bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1959. From 1959 to…

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Shaikhly, Ismail al- (1924–2002)

Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Ismail al-Shaikhly was among the Baghdadi Institute of Fine Art’s first graduating class in 1945. At the institute, he studied under…

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Al-Bayati, Abdul-Wahab (1926–99)

Iraqi poet Abdul-Wahab al-Bayati was one of the foremost pioneers of Arabic poetry during the twentieth century. His poetry was revolutionary in poetic form and…

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Selim, Jewad (1921–1961)

Born in Ankara, Turkey, Jewad Selim descended from an Iraqi family of artists. His father is Hajj Mohammad Selim, his sister Naziha Selim and brothers…

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Jabra, Jabra Ibrahim (1920–1994)

Born in Bethlehem, Palestine, in 1920, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra was a distinguished intellectual whose literary writing, translation, and criticism played an important role in Arab…

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Al Said, Shakir Hassan (1925–2004)

Al Said was a prolific and influential artist. He was a founding member of the Baghdad Group for Modern Art (Jama’at Baghdad lil-fann al-hadith) in…

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Belkhodja, Néjib (1933–2007)

Néjib Belkhodja was a Tunisian artist credited for leading Tunisian modern art in a new direction in the 1960s. He attended the Lycée Carnot and…

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al-Sayyāb, Badr Shākir (1926–1964)

Badr Shākir al-Sayyāb is the unrivalled champion of the Arab Free Verse movement. One of the most well-known poets of the twentieth century, he revolutionized…

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Huroufiyah

The perception of the Arabic letter in art has gone through many changes from the Islamic civilization to the modern age. Following the political and…

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Arab-American Theater

Arab-American Theater is a general term that describes plays and performances by Americans of Arab descent written in Arabic and/or English from the early twentieth…

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The Egyptian School of Fine Arts

The Egyptian School of Fine Arts [Madrassat al-Funun al-Jamila al-Misriyya] opened its doors on 13 May 1908, a date cited by many art historians as…

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Zeid, Fahrelnissa (1901–1991)

Fahrelnissa Zeid was a prominent and influential figure in Turkish modern art. An accomplished early modernist Turkish painter, she was as influential for modern Jordanian…

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Spaces for Modern Art in North Africa

In the twenty-first century, works of modern art appear in national museums, private museums, galleries, and independent exhibit spaces across North Africa (defined here as…

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Zaini, Jassim (1943–2012)

Jassim Mohamed Zaini was a leading figure in the development of the fledgling Qatari art scene in the 1960s. Zaini was one of the few artists…