Mathaf Encyclopedia

Mathaf Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World is a bilingual, peer-reviewed online resource providing free in-depth information on modern and contemporary artists from the Arab world. The Research and Curatorial team at Mathaf have commissioned scholars and independent researchers to author Encyclopedia entries​. ​ Read more​​​

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  • Baya Mahieddine
    Often referred to only as Baya, the Algerian painter Baya Mahieddine was born as Fatma Haddad, into a poor Kabylie family in Bordj-el-Kifan, near Algiers. Orphaned at age five, Baya lived with her grandmother until she was eleven, when she
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  • Omar Onsi
    Through a career that was actively engaged in the founding of national art institutions, cultural pedagogy, and a civically oriented, domestic aesthetic, Omar Onsi helped to create the iconography of modern Lebanon. His rural landscapes are best known, but he
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  • Kadhim Haidar
    As a child growing up in the Fadhl neighborhood of Baghdad, Haidar loved to draw. When the artist Mohammad Saleh Zaki visited his elementary school and instructed the students to draw a fish, Haidar drew a fish in a peculiar
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  • Abdel Hadi el-Gazzar
    During his short but prolific career, Abdel Hadi el-Gazzar rose to become one of the most important Egyptian artists of the postwar period. He began painting in a folk style, influenced by Surrealism and the traditions and motifs of Cairo’s
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