Meet the Arab Artists Representing the Region at Venice Biennale

Calling on all passengers to Venice

Almost 60 years deep, Venice Biennale is finally back after a two-year break. 

The modern art exhibition has consecutively been running, with a few interruptions only, since 1895. It only makes sense that the art world is more than excited for the bi-annual rendez-vous to play host to some of the world’s most expressive voices of art once again. 

Now in its 59th edition, the prestigious event kicked off on April 23 and it wasn’t short of Arab representation. This year’s edition sees six Arab countries invited to showcase their nurtured talents work and highlight their local creative minds. 

From Egypt to the UAE, these are the cohort of artists to check out.  

Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, Radhika Khimji and Raiya Al Rawahi – Oman

Hassan Meer, Reflections From Memories
Hassan Meer, Reflections From Memories

The Sultanate of Oman will be showcasing the works of five artists uncovering the past 50 years of Omani contemporary art at its first Venice Biennale. The artists are drawn from a local collective called Circle Group, founded by Hassan Meer in the late 1990s. Anwar Sonya, Hassan Meer, Budoor Al Riyami, Radhika Khimji and Raiya Al Rawahi will be the ambassadors at Venice. 

Ayman Baalbaki and Danielle Arbid – Lebanon

beirut biennale venice
Ayman Baalbaki, Janus Gate

Ayman Baalbaki and Danielle Arbid are the two artists that will be representing the Cedar country at the global event. Mandated by the Lebanese Ministry of Culture, they explain their choice by claiming that ‘This project invites on a symbolic journey into our contemporary world through a theme, a city, and two artists who maintain a political and aesthetic dialogue from a distance, by presenting artworks which are so far and yet so close”.

Muhannad Shono – Saudi Arabia

https://www.instagram.com/tv/Cckq0qwo2zn/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Muhannad Shono will be Saudi Arabia’s sole representative in Italy this year. The Gulf State will be competing in the world-renowned event for the third time in its history. The project, which was originally commissioned by the Ministry of Culture’s Visual Arts Commission, will shed light on Saudi Arabia’s flourishing art scene by exploring the themes of creation, regeneration, nature, and mythology.

Saousan Al Zubi, Ismael Nasra, Adnan Hamideh, Omran Younis, Aksam Tallaa, Giuseppe Amadio, Marcello Lo Giudice and Lorenzo Puglisi – Syria

syria venice
Saousan Al Zubi, Ismael Nasra, Adnan Hamideh, Omran Younis, Aksam Tallaa, Giuseppe Amadio, Marcello Lo Giudice and Lorenzo Puglisi

As the country is still struggling to get its head above water, a slew of contemporary artists will be heading to Venice to express their thoughts and voice in the form of culture. Making use of several different mediums of art, the handful of selected creatives are here to bring another vision to a country that has been under too much strife for far too long.

Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim – United Arab Emirates

mohamed ibrahim venice
Mohamed Ibrahim ‘Between Sunrise and Sunset’

The UAE pavilion is set to be home to Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim’s colourful papier-mâché. ‘Between Sunrise and Sunset’ is the title of his piece, which was inspired by the changing light of the veteran artist’s hometown, Khor Fakkan.

Weaam Ahmed El-Masry, Mohamed Shoukry and Ahmed El-Shaer – Egypt

eden like garden egypt at venice art biennale
Mohamed Shoukry, Weaam El Masry, Ahmed El Shaer Eden-Like Garden

The Egyptian trio — El-Masry, Shoukry, and El-Shaer — are among some of Egypt’s most well-known modern artists, and they will together collaborate on a project titled Eden Like Garden. The Ministry of Culture, through the Supreme Council of Culture, chaired by Hisham Azmy, has chosen this initiative to represent Egypt.

Share this article

Related stories