Serwan Baran

Born in Baghdad in 1968, Serwan Baran is a graduate of Fine Arts from Babel University, a member of AIAP, the Iraqi Fine Art Association, and the National Art Association. Baran has exhibited extensively including at the Baghdad Second International Festival, Wasiety Exhibitions, Modern Iraqi Art Exhibitions from 1991-95, the Iraqi modern art exhibition in Amman, Cyprus and Qatar, Cairo Pinali (1999), 10X10 Orfali Gallery, Amman from 2008-2009, Kuwait Pinali (2011), and Morocco Pinali (2012). Solo exhibitions have taken place across the world, including in Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, and Japan. Baran’s awards for art include the first prize for youth, Baghdad, 1990, the second prize at the Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, 1994, the golden prize at the Iraqi Contemporary Art Exhibition, 1995, an honorary medal at the Cairo 7th Biennial, 2002, and a discretionary award at Baghdad Pinal 2002.

Mohammad Labash

Born in Daraa, southwest Syria, in 1989, Mohammad Labash studied painting and drawing at Damascus University. His visually charged paintings are filled with vigorous energy, chaotic strokes, and blocks of color overlapping and abutting each other amid scribbled lines. His subdued palettes often feature autumnal colors and his semi-abstract compositions hint at figures lurking in the shadows, inviting the viewer to decipher the details embedded therein.  Speaking of his practice, Labash states, a painting is like a child with relentless questioning, quest, discovery, and trial” – an inquiry that is reflected in his intense painterly technique.  Heavily influenced by Damascus’ urbanity and socio-political realities, his paintings reflect the dynamism and the tensions that characterize the city. 

Mansour El Habre

Mansour El Habre was born in Lebanon in 1970 and studied fine arts at the Lebanese University and the University of Balamand. His work as a printmaker, painter, and draftsman often give a surreal take on the realities of daily life, more recently presenting chaotic collage-effect canvases that feature faceless or animal-headed figures. His colorful and atmospheric works speak to the chaos and overlapping narratives of reality that for El Habre, are reduced to elemental forms and colors.  His work has been exhibited across notable institutions and art spaces in Beirut, including a permanent collection at Galerie Janine Rubeiz, which also showcased his work at Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  El Habre has participated in numerous international exhibitions including across the Gulf, Europe, and North America.  He lives and works in Beirut, where he is an instructor at ALBA – the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts.

Aly Said

Aly Said was born on the north side of the river Nile near the historical city of Rosetta in Egypt. He began his study at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria in 1997, graduating from the painting department in 2002 and earning his master’s degree in 2012. He has been an active participant in the Egyptian contemporary art movement since 2000. Since 2014 he is the director of the Fine Arts Museum in Alexandria, the oldest museum in the city for Egyptian modern art. Said takes part in many art events in Egypt and abroad. Since 1999 he has participated in more than 60 exhibitions in Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said. Internationally his work has been shown in the exhibition of contemporary Egyptian art in Rome (2004), as well as in a traveling exhibition across Italy and at the Biennale BJCEM Euro-Mediterranean in Bari, Italy (2008). He has also taken part in many workshops, including with the Japanese artist Kyoko EPE on how to make and use handmade paper 2007. He was awarded first prize in painting at the Atelier Alexandria International Salon, second prize in painting at the 15th salon of Youth Cairo, and third prize in painting at the Exhibition of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

Ekram Tira

Ekram Tira was born in Tunisia in 1982 and holds a degree in Fine Arts, with a specialization in engraving, and a master’s degree in Sciences and Techniques of the Arts from the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Tunis. She has been teaching art since 2007. Through her work Tira demonstrates an interest in popular images and muses about the so-called consumer society. Using images cut from brochures and catalogs, she imagines new compositions, in what can be termed anagrams of images, which result in new, hybrid forms that conjure an alternative world. Tira has participated twice in The Spring of the Arts exhibition and has exhibited at the Mille Feuilles Gallery in La Marsa.

Sadik Kwaish Alfraji

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1960, Sadik Kwaish Alfraji lives and works in Amersfoort, Netherlands. He received a bachelor’s degree of Fine Art in Painting and Plastic Art from the Academy of Fine Arts, Baghdad in 1987 and a high diploma in Graphic Design from CHK Constantijn Huygens, the Netherlands in 2000. Sadik Kwaish Alfraji explores what he describes as ‘the problem of existence through drawings, paintings, video animations, art books, graphic art, and installations. He had held solo shows in Sharjah, Antwerp, Munich, Beirut, Dubai, London, Utrecht, Houston, and Den Bosch. His group exhibitions are numerous and include the Iraq Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice (2017), the British Museum, London (2017, 2015), and many others from the US to Japan, the UAE, Argentina, France, and more. Alfraji’s works are housed in private and public collections including the British Museum, London, National Museum of Modern Art, Baghdad, The Art Center, Baghdad, National Gallery of Fine Arts Amman, Shoman Foundation, Amman, Royal Association of Fine Arts, Amman, Novosibirsk State Art Museum, Russia, and Cluj-Napoca Art Museum, Romania, Los Angeles Country Museum, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. A monograph on the artist edited by Nat Mueller was published in 2015 (Schilt Publishing, Amsterdam).

Gylan Safadi

Gylan Safadi was born in Sweida, Syria in 1977 and studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus.

Resme Al Kafaji

Resme Al Kafaji was born in Diywania. He earned a degree in Art from the Institute of Fine Arts of Baghdad, then later a diploma in Fine Arts in painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence, Italy. Since 1977 he has been living and working in Florence and Prato. Before moving to Italy he participated in various exhibitions in Iraq. His work is influenced by both his native Iraq and adopted European home, and he is known for working exclusively in black and white since 2003, his last visit to Iraq. Solo exhibitions have been held in Florence, Prato, Bergen, Brussels and Milan while he has also participated in group exhibitions across Italy and in the Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Slovenia and Syria. He is the first Arab artist to have work on display at the Napoli Museum. His works are in the collections of C.A.O.S. Museum- Terni, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Casoria- Casoria (CE) and Museum of Arts and Antiquities – Al-Qadissiya University, Iraq, and in private art collections in Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Great Britain

Nazir Ismail

Nazir Ismail was born in Damascus in 1948 and throughout his artistic career, he has taken part in over 60 exhibitions. His colorful oil paintings capture human figures and roosters in warm, earthy colors, while his watercolor-on-paper works capture the realities of modern Syria. Ismail reflects the environment that he sees around him, exploring themes of loss, confusion, bitterness, and anxiety that imbue his work with a psychological depth. Through the distorted portraits of his subjects –some faceless, others marked with a melancholic expression–the viewer is made to feel complicit in their suffering.  In his words, he seeks to ‘work in an expressive manner, trying to transmit the emotional and psychological state through color and lines, and the general vibe of the art’.  He has won numerous prizes including the 3rd prize at the exhibition for Young Artists in Damascus in 1971, the Graphic Prize in Berlin in 1980, and the 3rd prize at the Sharjah Biennale in 1996.  His work has been exhibited at several institutions and galleries, including museums and ministries in Damascus, as well as private collections.

Slimen Elkamel

Born in 1983 in Sidi Bouzid, Slimen Elkamel is a young visual artist and an extensively published art critic for newspapers, publications, and art catalogs. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions across his native Tunisia, including the Spring of the Arts in 2009 and in the UAE. In 2011 he held a solo exhibition at Artyshow gallery in El Marsa. Elkamel was an art resident at the Living Arts Center at Rades in 2010 and paid multiple artistic and research visits to Paris, Algeria, and Bahrain. He has also been involved in the theatre in scenography and creative direction. Elkamel has spoken of the spontaneous way in which the Tunisian revolution, in which he was an active participant, has infiltrated his work, which, he says, questions social constraints and the absurdity of violence. He has a master’s degree in Visual Arts, specializing in Painting and Techniques of Science and Art. In 2010 he began his Ph.D. thesis at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts of Tunis. He currently teaches at the Higher Institute of Fine Arts of Sousse.

Nawal Alsadon

Born in 1953 in Baghdad, Nawal Alsadon graduated in 1980 in Graphic Design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania. She began participating in group exhibitions in 1975, beginning with The Association of Iraqi Artists gallery in Baghdad, and since then has had her art shown in numerous exhibitions across the world, including in Romania, Yemen, Syria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Scotland, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Turkey. Her solo exhibitions began in 1978 at the Culture House, Bucharest, and later in 1980 at the Fain Art Academy in Bucharest. Since then she has had solo shows at the Ministry of Culture Exhibition Hall, Yemen (1985), the National Museum -Kunst Forening – Copenhagen, Brede (1990), Shambala Gallery, Copenhagen (1992), Culture House KUC, Copenhagen (1999), Shambala Gallery, Copenhagen (2000), Gallery Al Mada, Damascus (2002), Nawal Alsadon Studio, Old Damascus (2004), Art House Gallery, Copenhagen (2005), and the French Culture Center, Damascus (2007).

Elias Izoli

Born in Damascus in 1976, Elias Izoli is a self-taught painter whose creative talents were realised at a young age.