Note: The following are all contemporary artists.


Nada M. Shabout. From Middle East Institute: “Nada Shabout is Associate Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Studies Institute (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding President of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA), and is a member of the Cultural Development Board at the Qatar Foundation.”


Sama Alshaibi Iraqi and Palestinian, multi-media artist

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Iranian mixed media artist known for her mirror mosaics. Her work also includes paintings, drawings, textile designs, and monotypes. Her work has been featured at the NY MoMA and the Met.

Muslima (online exhibit at the International Museum of Women): Muslim Women’s Art and Voices


Etel Adnan Lebanese painter, writer, & essayist. Her work was recently featured at the Whitney Museum in NY.

Huguette Caland, LA-based Lebanese painter, sculptor and fashion designer. In “Arab Spring: Modern Middle Eastern Art Finds a New Audience in the West” in Art News, 2015, a few of her pieces are described as “landscape-like paintings from the 1970s harboring racy images of butts and breasts.”

Saloua Raouda Choucair, Lebanese painter and sculptor. From her website: “Born in Beirut in 1916, Choucair is a pioneer of abstract art in the Middle East and is now becoming recognized as an important figure in the history of global modernism. Her work combines an experimental approach to materials with an elegant use of symmetry, line and curve.”

Mohammad Reza Javaheri Iranian painter

Oakland, CA mural in solidarity with Palestine (completed August 2014)


Ahmad Aali, Iranian photographer and artist.

Bessma Khalaf Oakland based, Iraqi photographer

Rania Matar, Lebanese photographer

Shirin Nashet, Iranian visual artist. Her work has been featured in the Whitney and in the Guggenheim online collection.

Gazelle Samizay LA based, Afghani photographer and videographer


Dia Azzawi artist whose work includes sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints, tapestry and book art, among others. From his website: “Born in Baghdad in 1939, Dia Azzawi started his artistic career in 1964, after graduating from the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad and completing a degree in archaeology from Baghdad University in 1962.

In 1969, Azzawi (with Rafa Nasiri, Mohammad Muhriddin, Ismail Fattah, Hachem al-Samarchi and Saleh al Jumaie) formed the New Vision group (al-Ru’yya al-Jadidah), uniting fellow artists ideologically and culturally as opposed to stylistically. Through his involvement with the New Vision group Azzawi found inspiration in contemporary subjects and issues, particularly the plight of the Palestinians. He was also briefly a member of Shakir Hassan Al Said’s One Dimension group (Jama’t al-Bu’d al-Wahid).

From 1968 to 1976, Azzawi was the director of the Iraqi Antiquities Department in Baghdad. He has lived in London since 1976, where he served as art advisor to the city’s Iraqi Cultural Centre, from 1977 to 1980. Azzawi’s move to London led him to rediscover book art (dafatir), an art form that he has encouraged other artists from Iraq and the region to explore.”

Parviz Tanavoli, Vancouver based, Iranian sculptor, painter, scholar and art collector. “Arab Spring: Modern Middle Eastern Art Finds a New Audience in the West” in Art News, 2015, notes: “The Iranian-born sculptor Parviz Tanavoli (b. 1937), who spent time working in Italy in the 1950s and who makes elegant, intricate metal sculptures that recall David Smith’s, is also experiencing an upswing.”


Iran Modern: “Iran Modern is the first major museum exhibition mounted with loans from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East to focus on Iran’s dynamic modern art scene. The exhibition spans the three decades prior to the 1979 Revolution, a period of great economic, political, and societal change in the country. By the mid-1970s Tehran, its capital city, had become an important cosmopolitan destination. Artists found new patronage especially from the government for exhibitions and festivals, such as the annual Shiraz Arts Festival, and the creation of new museums such as the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which was actively acquiring both Iranian and international art for its collection.”

Sfeir-Semler Gallery in Beirut and Hamburg