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Preface Opera Gallery Dubai is delighted to present The Greater Middle East Unveiled collection, showcasing some of the Middle East’s most sought-after modern and contemporary works. Artists from Cairo to Tehran, Baghdad to Damascus, and Jerusalem to Istanbul, unveil their work here on a wide spectrum of media. From the traditional oil on canvas, to car paint on cardboard and including unique sculptural and photographic works, this collection truly embraces the contemporary art movement. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Modern and Contemporary art in the Middle East, since the region’s vibrant and ecclectic scene started influencing a new generation of creative artists. The Greater Middle East Unveiled will feature: Sabhan Adam, Yousef Ahmad, Masoud Akhavanjam, Yasmina Alaoui & Marco Guerra, Arzu Akgun, Samira Alikhanzadeh, Pooya Aryanpour, Mohamed El Baz, Mahi Binebine, Vahid Danaiefar, Morteza Darehbaghi, Reza Derakshani, Mohammad Ehsai, Ali Esmaeilipour, Alireza Fani, Hossein Fassih, Golnaz Fathi, Paul Guiragossian, Khalid Al Hamad, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Halim Al-Karim, Mohammad Khodashenas, Ahmad Mohammadpour, Fateh Moudarres, Medhi Nadavi, Zakaria Ramhani, Baseem Rayyes, Pooya Razi, Aram Chaled Res, Loai Salahedeen, Rasool Soltani, Youssef Nabil, Ahmet Nejat, Parviz Tanavoli and Aneh Mohammad Tatari. Opera Gallery Dubai welcomes you to this compelling exhibition that provides rare and extensive insight into the Greater Middle East’s Modern and Contemporary art scene. Gilles Dyan Founder and Chairman Opera Gallery Group

Annamaria Bersani Gallery Manager Opera Gallery Dubai




Fateh Moudarres Syrian (1922-1999)

Fateh Moudarres was a painter, published poet and essayist who was born in Aleppo, Syria in 1922. He died in Damascus in 1999. In 1960, he graduated from Rome’s Fine Arts Academy and he pursued his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, receiving his diploma in 1972. He was Head of the Fine Arts Syndicate in Damascus and then went on to become a professor at the Fine Arts University in the same city. Moudarres’ artworks have been exhibited throughout the world in Rome (the Cichi Gallery), Damascus (the French Cultural Centre), Germany (the Austrian Cultural Centre), and in Dubai (the Green Art Gallery). Many museums and places of culture exhibit his paintings, such as the Dummar Museum, the Syrian Ministry of Culture, the Damascus National Museum and the Presidential Palace. His works are also part of several prestigious private collections.

Last Days of Hiba, 1977 Signed and dated in Arabic ‘Moudarres 1977/7/27’ (lower right corner) Oil and gold leaf on canvas 70 x 50 cm – 27.6 x 19.7 in.








Paul Guiragossian Israeli / Lebanese (1925-1993)

Paul Guiragossian was born in 1925 in Jerusalem to Armenian refugee parents. His family moved to Beirut in 1939 where he lived until his death in 1993. He started to paint in 1942 at the Yarcon Studio and began to study at the Italian Academy Pietro Langhetti in 1944. Twelve years later, he received a scholarship to study at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, after which he spent a few years studying and painting in Paris and the United States. Paul Guiragossian’s works are exhibited in many collections in the Middle East and throughout the world, including the Vatican Museum.

Les Marchands ambulants, 1990 Signed ‘Paul. G’ (lower right corner) Oil on canvas 75,5 x 100 cm – 29.7 x 39.4 in.

Famille, 1960 Signed ‘Paul G’ (lower left corner) Oil on canvas 102 x 72 cm – 40.2 x 28.3 in.






Parviz Tanavoli

Mohammad Ehsai

Iranian (1937-)

Iranian (1939-)

Parviz Tanavoli was born in 1937 in Tehran, Iran. Upon graduating from the Brera Academy of Milan in 1959, Parviz Tanavoli taught sculpture at the Tehran College of Decorative Arts and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He then became the head of the Sculptural Department at the University of Tehran, a position he held for 18 years until retiring. In 2003, Tanavoli’s work was exhibited in a retrospective at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and prior to that, he held acclaimed exhibitions in Austria, Italy, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and numerous other countries. His work has been displayed at the British Museum, New York University, Isfahan City Centre, the New York Metropolitan Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Seoul Olympic Park, the Qatar National Museum, the Royal Museum of Jordan, the Royal Scottish Museum and at other prestigious venues around the world.

Mohammad Ehsai was born in Iran in 1939. He studied at the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran. Later, he became a calligraphy instructor at the same university. The Tehran Seyhoun Art Gallery began to exhibit his works from 1973 and he held a solo exhibition at the Paris Cyrus Gallery in 1975. One year later, he was awarded a prize at the Cagnessur-Mer International Painting Festival and took part in the Basel International Painting Festival from 1976 to 1978. During this period, he designed the conference hall of the Ellahiat Faculty in Iran and his works are presented as part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, both in Tehran. Mohammad Ehsai lives and works in Tehran.

Yellow ‘Heech’, 2007 Signed ‘Parviz 07.6/25’ (on top of base) Fiberglass, edition of 25 H: 65 cm – H: 25.6 in.

Untitled, 2003-2004 Signed in Farsi (lower left corner) and stamped (on the reverse) Car paint on cardboard 70 x 70 cm – 27.6 x 27.6 in.






Youssef Nabil Egyptian (1972-)

Youssef Nabil was born in 1972 in Cairo, Egypt. He began his career in 1992 by photographing artists and friends while working as a photographer’s assistant in well-known studios in Paris and New York. He developed his particular method of colouring silver gelatin photographs on his way back to Egypt in 1999, first with portraits of famous writers and singers from the Arab world. Nabil has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in famous museums and galleries across the world such as “Regards des photographes arabes contemporains” at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (2005), “I Live Within You” at the Savannah College of Art and Design (2009) and “Told/Untold/Retold” at the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha (2010). He was awarded the Seydou Keïta Portraiture Prize in 2003 at the African Photography Encounters in Bamako, Mali. In Paris, Nabil recently held a retrospective at La Maison Européenne de la Photographie and exhibited in a group show at the Institut du Monde Arabe, entitled“Le Corps Découvert”. He did a residency in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts and, in 2009, participated in the 53rd International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennial. Two monographs have been published on his works in 2007 and 2008, “Sleep in My Arms” co-authored by Autograph ABP and Michael Stevenson, and “I Won’t Let You Die” by Hatje Cantz. He now lives and works in New York City.

Samira Saïd (tropical), Cairo, 2000 Signed, inscribed, dated and numbered ‘Youssef Nabil Cairo 2000 2/3’ (on the reverse) Hand-coloured gelatin silver print, edition of 3 114 x 75 cm – 44.9 x 29.5 in.

Golnaz Fathi Iranian (1972-)

Golnaz Fathi was born in Tehran in 1972. She graduated with a B.A. degree in graphic design from the Azad Art University in Tehran and went on to obtain a degree in calligraphy from the Calligraphy Association in Tehran in 1995. In the same year, she was awarded the prize for Best Female Calligrapher. She spent three months at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris from 2003. Golnaz has participated in many exhibitions including at the Queen Library Gallery in New York (2002), the Central Public Library in Los Angeles (2002), the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont (2003), the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Florida (2003), the Meridian International Center in Washington DC (2007) and “Word into Art” at the British Museum (2008). The artist’s calligraphy is inspired by her Iranian heritage.

Untitled, 2007 Signed and dated ‘Golnaz Fathi 2007’ (centre left) Acrylic on canvas 180 x 45 cm – 70.9 x 17.7 in.


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11 Wild Pomegranates, 2011 Signed and dated “R.D 11” (lower left corner) Oil and glitter on canvas 120 x 100 cm – 47.2 x 39.4 in.

Ali Esmaeilipour Iranian (1962-)

Make a Wish, 1990 Signed and dated in English and Farsi ‘Ali Esmaeilipour 11/90’ (lower right corner) Acrylic on linen and mixed media on wood 107 x 137 cm – 42.1 x 53.9 in.

Reza Derakshani Iranian (1952-)

Painter, musician and performance artist Reza Derakshani was born in Sangsar, Iran in 1952. Reza Derakshani’s expansive store of creativity, the originality of his artistic vision and the musical energy of his paintings interact visually and musically. Equally rich and provocative are Derakshani’s explorations of the conceptual and philosophical preoccupations of the times and region. Following his first solo exhibition at the renowned Ghandriz Gallery in Tehran at the tender age of nineteen, Reza Derakshani has held more than 50 solo shows, group shows and performances and participated in numerous Art Fairs. In 2010, Hunting Gold, 150 x 480 cm was exhibited at the “Hope!” exhibition in France alongside works by Hirst, Murakami and others. Most recently, his solo painting exhibition at the Armory, NYC and his extremely anticipated Retrospective at the SPM in Dubai have added to his international influence. Derakshani has also been showcased in numerous publications such as the NY Times, Canvas Art Magazine, ArtSpeak NYC, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Art Experience NYC, to name a few. He currently divides his time between Dubai and the United States.

Ali Esmaeilipour was born in 1962 in Khomein, Iran. He studied painting from 1988 to 1991 at the Zangar Art College, a wellknown private school. In 1992, he held his first solo exhibition and participated in more than 40 group exhibitions across the country from 1991 to 1998. He also participated in many solo and group exhibitions in countries including Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, New York and Miami. His works have also been shown and collected by institutions such as the Singapore Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum of Tehran, the Cultural Heritage Museum of Iran and the International Olympics Women’s and Sports Commission. Ali Esmaeilipour’s paintings are inspired by the everyday life around him; he depicts many ordinary scenes such as an opened or closed window or door, or the sun shining into a room. He currently lives in Singapore with his family, having moved there in 1998.


12 Untitled, 2012 Signed in Arabic (centre) Mixed media on canvas 140 x 80 cm – 55.1 x 31.5 in.

Yousef Ahmad Qatari (1955-)

Yousef Ahmad was born in 1955 in Doha, Qatar. He studied Fine Arts abroad, in Egypt and then in California, where he received a Master’s degree from Mills College (1982). He has exhibited his works throughout the United States, Europe and in the Arab world thanks to the participation of prestigious houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonham’s. These celebrity venues selected Ahmad’s works for their auctions because of his reputation as one of the best abstract artists of Qatar. As a result of his presence at auctions since 2007, collectors and institutions now exhibit his works worldwide, in museums such as the British Museum and the Metropolitan in New York. He is also the Art Consultant to the New Arab Art Museum. His works are inspired by the forms and hues of the flat Qatari desert landscape and by Arabic calligraphy. He uses collages of mixed media works where colours and textures are derived from natural elements.

Ahmad Mohammadpour Iranian (1965-)

Arabesque Contrast III, 2011 Handmade palm leaf paper floating 200 x 200 cm - 78.7 x 78.7 in.

Ahmad Mohammadpour was born in 1965 in Babolsar, Iran. He graduated from the Iranian Calligraphy Association and has a degree medallion from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance since 2009. He is now a professor at the Shahid Rajayee University in Lavizan and teaches at Universities and Cultural & Artistic Centers in Tehran. Mohammadpour has held solo exhibitions in galleries throughout the Middle East. In 2011, the artist’s works were featured in Canada, France, Dubai and at the National Museum, Germany.


14 Dream 7, 2011 Numbered, signed and dated ‘ED 4/5 NYC 2011’ (on the reverse) Photography, edition of 5 76,2 x 61 cm – 30 x 24 in.

Zakaria Ramhani Moroccan (1983-)

Zakaria Ramhani was born in 1983 in Tangier, Morocco. His father was a portraitist and painter of typically Moroccan genre scenes. Ramhani was a member of the artistic residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, thanks to a French government scholarship; he thus became the youngest Moroccan artist to receive such an award. Ramhani has exhibited his work at the Cité Internationale des Arts Gallery, Paris (2006), Artspace Gallery, Dubai (2008) and at Atelier 21 Gallery, Casablanca. He has presented his works and represented his country through his participation in international exhibitions at the British Museum (2008), Art Dubai (2012), the DIFC, Dubai, The Barbican Gallery, London (2012) and at the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2012-2013). Ramhani uses calligraphy and letters to create figures and faces with many colours.

Yasmina Alaoui & Marco Guerra French-Moroccan & Chilean (1977 & 1965)

Faces of your other-50 Signed ‘Ramhani’ (lower left) Acrylic on canvas 240 x 200 cm – 94.5 x 78.7 in.

Born in 1977, Yasmina Alaoui spent her childhood in France and Morocco, studying art at the École du Louvre in Paris before graduating with a B.A. degree in Fine Arts from William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marco Guerra, born in Chile in 1965, is a fashion photographer, whose work has gained international acclaim through such publications as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Condé Nast Traveller, as well with famous fashion brands and houses such as Levi’s, Bergdorf Goodman’s and Ralph Lauren. Forming a couple both in the art studio and in their private lives, the artists like to merge their unique aesthetic styles and talents. They’re famous for creating unique series of evocative nudes that emanate sensuality, mesmerizing the viewer. In their work, figures inhabit a mysterious, dream-like space, where the artists exemplify how light and colour play on their nude figures. These scenes are intimate; the delicate lines of the hands and arms give way to the sinuous waves of the back and folds of the skin. Alaoui and Guerra have held both solo and group exhibitions around the globe in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Their works are part of many private collections. Currently, the artists live and work in New York.


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Masoud Akhavanjam

Arzu Akgun

Iranian (1969-)

Turkish (1970-)

Masoud Akhavanjam was born in 1969 in Tehran, Iran. He was sent off at the age of fourteen to Landschulheim Steinmühle Boarding School in Marbur, Germany. In 1989, he moved to the United States to continue his studies and received his B.S. degree in Biology in 1995 from George Washington University. Akhavanjam then did an Executive MBA degree in 2005 at Kempten University of Applied Sciences. He has been running the Design Department in a very well-known Iranian manufacturing company since 1997, for white and sustainable goods. He exhibited his works during a solo exhibition of bronze sculptures at the Etemad Gallery in Tehran in 2013 and has participated in many group shows.

Arzu Akgun was born in 1970 in Istanbul, Turkey. Having completed her BFA degree (Painting) at Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, she is currently doing her Master’s Degree at the Institute of Fine Arts. She participated in the Istanbul Contemporary Art Fair in 2010. Akgun has also exhibited her works in solo and group exhibitions. She is known for exploring the role of the woman in society through her paintings on wooden panels.

Horse, 2013 Signed ‘Masoud A-13’ (bottom left) Bronze, edition of 3 + 1 AP H: 167 cm – H: 65.7 in.

Model VI, 2012 Signed and dated ‘Arzu Akgun 2012’ (on the reverse) Wood panel engraved with translucent colour 160 x 170 cm - 63 x 66.9 in.


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Morteza Darehbaghi Iranian (1969-)

Morteza Darehbaghi was born in 1969 in Iran. He studied from 1991 to 1995 at the Azad University in Tehran and is a member of the Management Board of the Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington DC (since 2001). He has held solo exhibitions since 1993 in galleries in Dubai, Tehran and Paris and has participated in many group exhibitions the world over. Darehbaghi has been awarded many prizes, including 1st Prize at the 3rd Islam World Biennial in Tehran (2004) and the 4th Biennial Painting Prize at Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Warm Sun, 2007 Signed and dated ‘Morteza Darehbaghi 2007’ (lower left corner) Mixed media 152 x 152 cm – 59.8 x 59.8 in.

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Khosrow Hassanzadeh

Mohammad Khodashenas

Iranian (1963-)

Iranian (1975-)

Khosrow Hassanzadeh was born in 1963 into an Iranian family of fruit sellers. He became a revolutionary soldier near Afghanistan fighting the war on drugs. Hassanzadeh went on to study painting at the Mojtama-e-Honar University from 1989; then followed a period of Persian literature studies at the Azad University while the artist continued to privately train with painter Aydeen Aghdashloo. His works gained international recognition with a piece called “War” (1998), a diary of his experiences as a soldier during the Iraqi war between 1980 and 1988. Hassanzadeh likes to explore sociological themes and questions concerning terrorism and politics. His works have been shown across his homeland and in famous museums the world over thanks to solo exhibitions at the Diorama Arts Studios, London (1999), the British Museum, the Chelsea Art Museum, in cities like New York, Amsterdam, Beirut and Dubai, as well as at the 53rd Venice Biennial. Khosrow Hassanzadeh now lives and works as an actor and artist in Tehran.

Mohammad Khodashenas was born in 1975 in Rasht, Iran. He is a painter and graphic designer who lives and works in Lahijan. After graduating from Tehran’s Art University with a B.A. degree in graphic design, Khodashenas has exhibited in Iran and throughout the world (mainly in Europe and the Middle East). He has also participated in a Street Art Festival in Istanbul (2012). On his canvases, the artist likes to mix bright colours and slogans with figurative imagery, like the faces of famous historical people, to depict an environment brimming with revolutionary slogans and influences.

Chador Inscribed in Farsi ‘1-1’ (lower left corner) Mixed media 200 x 110 cm – 78.7 x 43.3 in.

Grow among Black, 2011 Signed ‘Mohammad Khodashenas’ (lower centre) Acrylic on canvas 180 x 180 cm – 70.9 x 70.9 in.


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Ahmet Nejat Iranian (1956-)

Ahmet Nejat was born in Iran in 1956. He started his studies in 1984 at Mimar Sinan University’s Graphic Design Department and then obtained his Master’s degree in Painting at the Özdemir Altan Atelier in 1992. During his studies, he worked in his own studio and took part in many solo and group exhibitions in countries like the United States, Iran, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. His works are presented in private collections such as Demet Sabanci, Koc, Tayfun Eroglu, Nejat Türkmen, Aydin Harezi, Kosifler Holding Company and NAB Holding, as well as in museums like the Sadberk Hanim Museum.

Hic VIII, 2013 Silver foiled plexiglas, unique piece 92 x 62 x 44 cm – 36.2 x 24.4 x 17.3 in.


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25 Village Magician, 2011 Dated and inscribed ‘Rayyes 11, 844, 120 x 150 cm, R.N. 844’ (on the reverse) Mixed media on canvas 150 x 120 cm – 59.1 x 47.2 in.

Aram Chaled Res Syrian (1965-)

Aram Chaled Res was born in 1965 in Syria and has German citizenship. Since 1988, Res has exhibited throughout Syria, in the Gallery of the Arab Cultural Centre in Rakka, in the Gallery of Rosi’s Cultural Centre in Damascus and in Germany, Spain and France among others. He is a member of many associations like the International Association of Fine Arts in Berlin and Paris; he also founded and directs the Free Academy of Art Göttingen in Germany (since 2001). He is the producer of three short films. Res’ works are presented the world over, in the Middle East, the United States, Europe and Asia. He now lives and works in Turkey.

Baseem Rayyes Syrian (1970-)

Untitled IV, 2014 Signed ‘Chaled Res Aram. 14’ (lower left) Mixed media on canvas 115 x 115 cm – 45.3 x 45.3 in.

Baseem Rayyes was born in 1970 in the city of Damascus, Syria. He started drawing at the age of 6 after his father left his family; it was at this time that Rayyes started using a box of charcoal and coloured sticks that his father had given him. The artist started to paint before graduating from the Agricultural Engineering School at Damascus University. He is a member of the Emirates Society of Fine Arts in Al-Sharja and of the Fine Arts Society in Damascus. He has held many solo and group exhibitions in Syria, the United States, Turkey and France. He was awarded the Al-Sharja Arab Creativity Short Story Prize for his collection “Tomorrow, I Will Sew My Mouth” and the Honorary Prize in Ghanem Ghabash for his short story “The Man with a Wheelchair”. He also wrote and directed a short, 11-minute film entitled “The Boundaries of the Grey”.


26 Untitled I, 2011 Oil on canvas 180 x 120 cm – 70.9 x 47.2 in.

Sabhan Adam Syrian (1972-)

Sabban Adam was born in Hassakeh, Syria in 1972. He came to painting at the age of seventeen. Endowed with a strong personality, Adam was a self-taught artist. Since 1994, he has exhibited at the Agial Gallery, Beirut, the Art Space, Dubai, the Zara Gallery, Amman and in Europe at the Off-Ample Gallery in Barcelona and in France. Through his paintings he explores philosophy, poetry and sociology, domains which fascinate the artist.

Vahid Danaiefar Iranian (1983-)

Untitled (C), 2008 Signed and dated ‘A 2008’ (upper left corner) Mixed media 180 x 160 cm – 70.9 x 63 in.

Vahid Danaiefar was born in 1983 in Tehran, Iran. He obtained a degree in painting from the Azad University of Tehran in 2007 and a Master’s degree from Sooreh University in 2010. He has participated in three solo exhibitions since 2003, including an exhibition of sketches at Zarrabi Gallery (2003) and two painting exhibitions -“Outdoors.Yard” (2009) and “TV Screen” (2010) at the Azad Art Gallery. He has also exhibited his works in group exhibitions and was awarded a prize in the “Iranian Contemporary Drawing” exhibition in Karaj (2005). His works were part of the “Selection of Contemporary Paintings from Emerging Artists” exhibition held at Homa Gallery (2007). Painted on large-scale wooden panels, his artworks are influenced by the confrontation of people and society, between reality and imagination, depicting the artist’s interpretation of the absurdity of the cosmos.


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29 Illusion Series Recreation of Medusa, 2011 Signed and numbered ‘Alireza Fani‘ (on the reverse) Pigment Inkjet Print on Archival Luster 260 gr, edition of 4 + 1 AP 120 x 100 cm – 47.2 x 39.4 in.

Rasool Soltani Iranian (1968-)

Rasool Soltani was born in 1968 in Tehran, Iran. He graduated in 1985 from the Azad University with a B.A. degree in painting. He has held several solo exhibitions in the Aria and Azad galleries and has participated in many group exhibitions yearly since 1990 in galleries across the Middle East, in art festivals and at the Iran 5th and 6th Biennials of Paintings at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Rasool Soltani likes to depict his commitment and personal point of view by painting his problems.

Golnar, 2009 Signed in Farsi (lower left) Acrylic on canvas 100 x 120 cm – 39.4 x 47.2 in.

Alireza Fani Iranian (1975-)

Alireza Fani was born in 1975 in Tehran, Iran. He studied at Shahid Chamran Technical High School in Gorgan, Iran from 1990 to 1994, obtaining a diploma in graphic design. He then received his Bachelor’s degree in graphic design in 2000 from the Azad University. He is a photographer, art director, graphic designer and a member of both the Bazi Company (since 2001) and the Iranian Advertising and Industrial Photography Association (since 2007). He has participated in group exhibitions in London, Zagreb, Warsaw, New Mexico, Dubai and Tehran, as well as in the 7th Biennial of graphic design in 2001 (Iran). Fani has held solo exhibitions in Tehran in 2007 and 2009. The artist won the Best Professional Design Award at the “Anti-SARS International Poster Contest” in China (2003).


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Halim Al-Karim Iraqi (1963-)

Halim Al-Karim was born in Najaf, Iraq, in 1963. He graduated from the Ceramic Department at Baghdad’s University of Fine Arts in 1988 and from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, in 2000. He began his career in sculpture and ceramics but quickly turned to photography before going back to Iraq to complete his military service. At the end of this experience, the artist hid himself in the Iraqi desert for three years, talking only with one Bedouin lady who brought him supplies to survive. He has exhibited his works in solo exhibitions since 1991, mostly in the United States and the Middle East, for example, in Amman (1992), at the Schauer Gallery, Paris (1993), at the ’50 x 70’ Gallery, Beirut (1994) and at the Robischon Gallery, Denver (2004). From 2005 to 2008, he participated in an annual exhibition in Dubai at the XVA Gallery. Al-Karim was also one of the artists selected for the Exhibition “Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East” at the well-known Saatchy Gallery, London (2008). He now divides his time between two cities, Dubai and Denver. His photographs express all the hardship of his desert ordeal, including feelings of loneliness and anguish. Al-Karim also likes to create series of obsessing images, with blurred reality.

Loai Salahedeen Syrian (1975-)

Born in 1975 in Syria, Loai Salahedeen graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Damascus University in 1997. He’s a member of the Fine Arts Society, United Arab Emirates and of the Syrian Fine Arts Association. Salahedeen has held two solo exhibitions in 2011 and 2012 at the Vindemia Art Gallery in Dubai, and has participated in several group shows in the Middle East, including the Al Shaab Fine Arts Gallery in Damascus (1997) and in the annual exhibitions of the National Museum of Damascus (1999) and the Prince Faisal Hall, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2009). He was awarded a prize at the Young Artists Exhibition in Syria (1998).

Chords, 2014 Signed in Arabic and dated ‘2014’ (on the lower right) Oil on canvas 110 x 110 cm – 43.3 x 43.3 in.

Hidden Love 3, 2009 Dated, numbered and signed ‘Hidden Love 170 x 120 cm, 1/5 + 2AP, photograph, Halim Al-Karim‘ (on the reverse) Photograph, edition of 5 + 2AP 170 x 120 cm - 66.9 x 47.2 in.


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Khalid Al Hamad Kuwaiti (1986-)

Khalid Al Hamad, a young and talented photographer, was born in 1986 in Kuwait where he graduated from the American University. After getting his degree, the artist spent time volunteering in Thailand, teaching Buddhist monks how to speak English. Some of those novice monks would later become the subjects of his first series of large-sized portraits. Through these photographs, Khalid Al Hamad proved that he is a master of light, contrast, texture and composition. He went on to explore new areas focusing on human reactions, whether rational or irrational, like screaming when defying fear or confronting silence. By stripping these powerful artworks of their humanity, Khalid Al Hamad focuses on the emotions they trigger. In a region where women have been oppressed, he strives to prove that the beauty in one’s mind can never be destroyed. The artist also exhibited his photographs in 2010 in Kuwait, the city where he works and lives today.

Shout, 2008 Signed in Arabic (on the reverse) Photography 108 x 81 cm – 42.5 x 31.9 in.


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Pooya Aryanpour Iranian (1971-)

Pooya Aryanpour was born in Tehran in 1971. He first studied at the School of Plastic Arts and then at the Azad University in Tehran, receiving his Master’s Degree in 1999. He has held solo exhibitions in Sweden and Iran and has participated in group exhibitions like “The Turning Points: Seven Iranian Artists Exhibit”, Columbia University, New York or “Whispered Secrets, Murmuring Dreams”, London, 2008. He has also exhibited at the Meem Gallery, Dubai, among others. A renowned artist throughout the globe, Aryanpour currently lives in Tehran where he lectures at the Azad University and gives private art lessons in his studio.

The Horse of Nayebhossein, 2006 Fiberglass and mixed media, unique piece 118 x 170 cm – 46.5 x 66.9 in.

Medhi Nabavi Iranian (1978-)

Untitled, 2014 Marbles on wood 100 x 100 cm - 39.4 x 39.4 in.

Mehdi Nabavi was born in 1978 in Iran. He has participated in many group exhibitions since 1997 at the Azad Art Gallery in Tehran, as well as in galleries in Turkey and Paris. He has held solo exhibitions since 2007 in galleries in Tehran and Tabriz. He participated in art fairs in Abu Dhabi and Beirut in 2012. Since May 2012, his artworks have been presented in famous auction houses in Dubai, such as the Ayyam Auction House and Christie’s.


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Aneh Mohammad Tatari Iranian (1956-)

Aneh Mohammad Tatari was born in Gonbad Kavos, Iran in 1956. He studied painting at the Azad University in Tehran and now teaches in universities in Tehran. His works have been exhibited in more than seventy solo and group exhibitions in many countries like England, France, Venezuela, Armenia, India, to name just a few. His paintings are also part of many permanent museum collections, including the British Museum in London, the TMCA in Tehran, the Iran Academy of Arts in the same city and the Swiss Embassy. He was selected to participate in the 3rd Biennial of Iranian Painting in Tehran (1996) and has been awarded many prizes around the world like at the 4th Biennial of Contemporary Painting of the Islamic World in Tehran (2006).

Shaylan, 2006 Signed and dated ‘Tatari 06’ and ‘1385’ (under the front left hoof) Fiberglass and mixed media, unique piece 118 x 170 cm – 46.5 x 66.9 in.

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Mohamed El Baz

Samira Alikhanzadeh

Moroccan (1967-)

Iranian (1967-)

Mohamed El Baz was born in El Ksiba, Morocco in 1967. He has exhibited his works in group exhibitions throughout the world: at the Centre d’Art Regional, Sète, France, in Johannesburg (1995), Jerusalem (1996), Düsseldorf; at the 4th Biennial of Contemporary Art, Istanbul (1995), at the Hayward Gallery, London, at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. He also held solo exhibitions at the Centre d’Arts Plastiques in Saint-Fons, France (1998) and Les Champs de la Sculpture, Paris (1999). Mohamed El Baz currently works and lives in the city of Lille, France.

Samira Alikhanzadeh was born in 1967 in Tehran, Iran. She graduated with a Master’s of Art (Painting) at Al-Zahra University, Tehran and went on to obtain an equivalent Master’s degree in 1998 from the Azad University, Tehran. Alikhanzadeh has participated in five solo exhibits from 1999 to 2008 at Golestan Gallery, Iran and in many group exhibitions such as “Whispered Secrets, Murmuring Dreams”, Mall Gallery, London (2008), “Planting New Roots”, Kuwait (2008), “Auto Portraits”, Azad Gallery, Tehran (2009), “Broken Promises, Forbidden Dreams”, the Iran Heritage Foundation, London, the Space Gallery, in Vancouver, and in Turkey, the United States, France and Italy. She now lives and works in Tehran. Her artworks express a sensation of sadness, depicting human figures and the problems related to children and women. She also works on the question of memories of days gone by, traditions, identity and heritage.

The Orange Racket Team from Friends Series, 2010 Numbered and dated ‘A/P 9/Pow 2010’ (lower left corner) Acrylic on canvas 100 x 120 cm - 39.4 x 47.2 in.

Skyfall (Swords 1), 2013 Neon light on stainless steel, edition of 3 + 1 AP 100 x 100 cm – 39.4 x 39.4 in.


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41 Masque rouge et blanc, 2009 Signed in Arabic and dated ‘09’ (on the reverse) Mixed media on wood 160 x 110 cm - 63 x 43.3 in.

Hossein Fassih Iranian (1977-)

Hossein Fassih was born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran. He graduated with a B.A. degree in Painting from the Yazd Art University in 2006. He was the managing director and editor in Chief of Gaah Magazine and has been working on an animated art project since 2006. Fassih held two solo exhibitions at the Homa Gallery in 2008 and 2009, and has also participated in a group exhibition at the Aftah Gallery in 1993.

Mahi Binebine Moroccan (1959-)

Born in 1959 in Marrakesh, Morocco. Mahi Binebine studied art in Paris from 1980, teaching maths for 8 years while painting. After a few exhibitions, he published many novels in various languages. He moved to New York in 1994 where he became a famous painter as well as a talented writer. He now devotes his time to painting and writing, and more recently, sculpting. His works have been exhibited in France, Germany and the United States and are included in many famous private and public collections such as at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Kinda Foundation, the Marrakech Museum and the Kamal Lazaart Foundation, to name just a few. Mahi Bibine is now established in the city of Marrakesh where he is currently working with fellow painter, Miguel Garanda.

Chapter 2 – Story 1 Signed in Farsi (lower left corner) Mixed media on canson paper 70 x 50 cm – 27.6 x 19.7 in.


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Pooya Razi Iranian (1984-)

Pooya Razi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1984. He graduated with a B.A. degree in Fine Arts (Painting) at the Azad University, Tehran, in 2008. He held a solo exhibition in 2007 at the Aria Gallery in Tehran and has participated in group exhibitions since 2001 in Tehran at the Shiring Gallery, the Silk Road Gallery, the Barg Gallery and in the French Slick Art Fair, at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 2010. Razi was selected as one of the Top Ten Writers in 2005 at “The First Experiences of Creating Minimal Stories”, as one of the Top Ten Poets in 2006 at “The Sixth Biennial of Literature” and then, as one of the Top Ten Painters in 2008 at “New Generation” in Tehran.

Immigration I, 2010 Signed in Farsi and dated ‘2010’ (lower left) Acrylic on wall paper 45 x 43 cm – 17.7 x 16.9 in. 1-

Immigration II, 2010 Signed in Farsi and dated ‘2010’ (lower left) Acrylic on wall paper 45 x 43 cm – 17.7 x 16.9 in. 2-

Immigration III, 2010 Signed in Farsi and dated ‘2010’ (lower right) Acrylic on wall paper 45 x 43 cm – 17.7 x 16.9 in. 3-

Immigration IV, 2010 Signed in Farsi and dated ‘2010’ (lower right) Acrylic on wall paper 45 x 43 cm – 17.7 x 16.9 in. 4-

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The Greater Middle East Unveiled