10 Emirati Creatives You Need To Know and Follow

The forces behind it all

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From being home to the world’s tallest building to its long list of world records, Dubai isn’t short of accolades. But the metropole, and the UAE at large, have moved far beyond their record-breaking accomplishments. 

Recent years saw the gulf nation become a buzzing art hub, making itself known as the go-to for artists, designers, creatives in the region and beyond. 

From Sole DXB attracting over 300,000 fashion and music enthusiasts to the heart of city every year, Cinema Akil’s brilliant programming making arthouse films all that more accessible, to Sharjah Art Foundation putting the spotlight on the Arab world’s best artists—the UAE’s cultural calendar is always packed. 

But it’s the nation’s local talents who are pushing the creative scene and placing the UAE front and centre. And we’re here to celebrate them. 

We’ve rounded up eleven Emirati creatives you need to know.

Farah Al Qasimi

Famed for her vivid photography that subtly balances vulnerability and power, Al Qasimi has exhibited her work everywhere from her native city Abu Dhabi, to Memphis, Paris and New York City. The Emirati artist opened her first solo exhibition in the US in summer 2019 entitled ‘List Projects: Farah Al Qasimi’ which housed the premiere of her first feature film, Um Al Naar. Her first institutional solo ‘Back and Forth Disco’ was presented by the Public Art Fund and consisted of a series of photographs said to “isolate and highlight the beauty of ephemeral moments amidst New York City.”

Rami Farook

 

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The Emirati artist is a hidden force behind Dubai’s burgeoning creative scene. An artist himself, Farook has managed to nurture creatives of all kinds, from fashion designers and musicians, to young chefs. His now-closed public space General 3am, which was set in the heart of Dubai Design District, represented a refuge for local artists and his Dubai-based restaurant and gallery Maisan 15 is now a meeting point for creatives to collaborate and showcase their work. 

Alia Bin Omair

 

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The Dubai-born and raised jewellery designer paved a lane of her own after founding her eponymous label in 2016. Keeping true to her Emirati roots, her dainty pieces breathe a new life into the gulf nation’s age-old gold crafts.

Twins Hadban

Move over the pink-haired twins Ami and Aya, Mohammed and Humaid Hadban are your favourite fashion icon twins. The Emirati brothers are going viral with 440.6k followers on TikTok and tapping every luxury brand from Gucci to Kenzo. 

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi

Few women have impacted the UAE’s art scene like HH Hoor Al Qasimi. The artist, curator and designer behind Sharjah Art Foundation, has been cementing the Emirates as one of the key players in the regional and international art world. A faithful supporter of emerging artists, HH Al Qasimi has curated major exhibitions worldwide and is the force behind artist and curator residencies in visual art, film and music in Sharjah. After the death of her twin brother Sheikh Khalid bin Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi in 2019, she took over as creative director of his brand Qasimi.

Khalid Mezaina

 

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The Dubai-based illustration and textiles artist is known for his sometimes humorous, sometimes more serious drawings and artwork. Among his accolades, Mezaina is making comics cool again and if you’re looking to learn a thing or two from the artist, keep an eye out for one of his workshops.

Abri

 

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The Emirati singer is redefining the soul music scene in the UAE. Abri has been in the game since 2005, whether solo or with his Dubai-based eponymous band playing in the Dubai Jazz Festival and touring across the globe. His contemporary hip-hop and electro influenced sounds are a must-listen.

Rawdha Thani

 

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Thani is behind Emirati Abaya brand illi. She creates timeless pieces adorned with her signature stars and crescent moons embroideries. Her minimal and original approach is redefining modern abayas.

Ahmed Abdelrahman

Abdelrahman is the founder of Thamanyah, the Dubai-based androgynous label. Co-signed by the likes of Michel Lamy and Justin Bieber, Abdelrahman’s pieces are inspired by the traditional kandura and are the epitome of minimal elegance.

Mohammed Sultan Al Habtoor

 

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Now a prominent figure in the fashion scene, Mohammed Sultan Al Habtoor is the first Emirati influencer and a regular in the fashion scene, counting some of the industry’s biggest heavyweights like Olivier Rousteing as friends. A ‘skincare and scent junkie’, Al Habtoor is the first Middle Eastern influencer to have his own AR filter that went viral across the globe.

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