6 Syrian Creatives to Keep an Eye On

In and out of the region

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Syria’s film scene is one of the oldest in the region. As early as the start of the 20th century, films were screened in cafes long before the first cinema theatre was established in Damascus.

By the 70s, the cinema scene had witnessed a renaissance with filmmakers like Qays al-Zubeydi and Muhammad Shahin. The civil war then saw films move into a more documentary style, with some works making it to the Oscars. 

But when it comes to Syria’s creative scene, cinema isn’t the only thriving artform to mention. Many musicians, visual artists, designers and more are honing their craft in and out of the region and we’re here to celebrate them.

These are the Syrian creatives you absolutely need to follow.

Sara Naim

 

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The visual artist has multiple solo and group exhibitions across Dubai and London. Her sinuous artworks explore the notion of boundary through an array of micro-formations, skin cells, digital glitches, chemical reactions, and more.

Maya Chantout

 

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The Paris-based designer had stints at Hermès, Chloé and Celine, where she worked directly with Hedi Slimane. Inspired by the femme fatales in classic Arab cinema, her creations ooze femininity, sexiness and sensuality. She won the LVMH fashion graduate prize in 2018 and was a finalist in Fashion Trust Arabia’s debut talent category in 2020.

Feras Fayyad

Fayyad is the first Syrian director to be nominated for an Oscar. His 2017 documentary Last Men in Aleppo which earned the Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature, was a huge success. The film follows members of the volunteer group, White Helmets, who offer aid to the victims of the Syrian civil war. His latest documentary The Cave was also shortlisted for the same category last year. 

Bu Kolthoum

 

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The rapper has only two albums under his belt and is already a key player in the local music scene. His pseudonym is a nod to Umm Kulthum and poet Amr ibn Kulthum. His 2019 single ‘Jouwana’ is his most successful hit yet with over 7 million views on YouTube.

Mariam Al Sibai

The British-Syrian designer established her eponymous brand in 2017 between her hometown of London and LA. Oversized sharp tailoring, floor-length coats and power suits, Al Sibai is an outerwear master with a deep focus on craftsmanship and slow ethical production.

Kinda Ghannoum 

The Belgium-based graphic designer’s obsession with Syrian design history led her to start the Syrian Design Archive. The documentary project is dedicated to archiving arabic typography, prints, stamps and other design forms across the Middle Eastern country.

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