A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Women in the eyes of Arab artists

In honour of International Women’s Day, my “Contemporary Arab and Islamic Art” class was dedicated to a much loved motif in the art world- women and womanhood. I feel compelled to share my favorite paintings from today’s material that deal with womanhood by some of the most famous contemporary Arab artists.
Arab women, within their natural habitats and in their natural customes and ways of life, drawn by modern day Arabs. All these paintings are lovely, and are incomparable to each other in their own artistic rights, and although I shouldn’t be saying this, my favorite it is the first one. It hits home. Which is your favorite?

6. Jordan Mohanna Durra, 1964
“Woman From Salt” by Muhanna Al-Durra – Jordan
Few paintings make me smile like this one does, and I absolutely love the work of Muhanna Al-Durra. The old Salti woman’s smile is heart warming.

23. Kuwait-Jafar Islah
Jafar Islah – Kuwait

28. Palestine-Nabila Hilmi
Nabila Hilmi – Palestine

14. Egypt-Inji Efflatoun
Inji Efflatoun – Egypt
Drawn while Inji Efflatoun was at prison for “communist” issues.

13. Egypt2-Gazbia Sirry
Gaziba Sirry – Egypt
We spent a while analyzing this painting. The rebellious look of the woman is fascinating.

7. Hussein Bikar Egypt
Hussein Bikar – Egypt
I love the style of this one. It is interesting to note that Bikar spent the last few years of his life under house arrest simply because of his faith- he was Bahaa’i.

33. Saudi Arabia-Fahda Bint Saud
Fahda Bint Saud – Saudi Arabia

38. Sudan-Bastawi Baghdadi
Bastawi Baghdadi – Sudan

46. UAE-Sheikha Hessah al Maktoum
Sheikha Hessah Al-Maktoum – UAE

41. Syria-Ghassan Sibai
Ghassan Sibai – Syria


Alone. And not.


The. Most. Annoying. Word. In. The. English. Language.


  1. Hey Roba,
    Thanks for posting these great portraits. You’re right– I love the smile of the Salti woman! I also like the one by Sheikha Hessah Al-Maktoum – UAE (What can I say– I’m a realist.) I think my “Favorite” would vary depending on my mood!

  2. She

    I can’t pick a favorite. Each one is beautiful for different reasons, and each one has a different effect on me. I suppose the painting by Fahda Bint Saud strikes me the most. Something in the colors and the solitude of the subject, I think. Ok. I guess I can pick a favorite, then.

  3. waaaw, all of them beautiful!!
    I like them all:)

  4. Sheikha Hessah Al-Maktoum – UAE….
    awsome colors…

  5. Nabila Hilmi – Palestine
    amazing motion and color

    Hussein Bikar – Egypt
    my favorite

  6. Sheikha Hessah Al-Maktoum – UAE
    love it!

  7. great collection, thanks for sharing

  8. There is a growing amount of evidence that The Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon Her, is a woman. I recall talking to my young niece, a strong believer in the Prophet, peace be upon Her. My niece became very excited and exclaimed, “You mean that the Prophet, peace be upon Her, is a chick?” Yes I replied. I also said that the Prophet, peace be upon Her, would probably prefer being called a woman, not a chick.

  9. Ziad D.

    Oops, posted this accidentally in the previous post.
    I liked Hussein Bikar’s style the most. Very elegant, and dignified. I also enjoyed woman from Salt due to it’s portrayal sincerity in the smile, well captured, plus you have to support the home team!

  10. wow! that’s a new… must be one of those who believe in the Femenine face of God…
    well… as for the Prophet Mohammed… give it a rest… he is a man… it says in the Quran:
    “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Apostle of Allah and the Last of the prophets; and Allah is cognizant of all things.” 33.40
    and if you deny the Quran… then am not intersted in convincing you that the Prophet is a MAN!

  11. i like it , really its amazing

  12. Western Brother

    1. Sibai (Syria)
    2. Baghdadi (Sudan)
    3. Hilmi (Palestine)

    If I’m allowed to pick up three artists just because I’m indecisive. All would look nice on my walls but would require a face lift of my entire apartment.

    Western Brother

  13. Nice blog man!!!

  14. Amazing collection rouba. Outstanding work.

  15. Ah, you brought back the memories !
    i really miss Wijdan’s lectures =D
    sorry my dear but you’ve been tagged by me! hehe

  16. Aya

    Love the post!
    Fahda Bint Saud’s is my favorite. I can almost feel the pain and solitude of the woman in the painting. It is exceptional.

  17. I like Ghassan Sibai the best.

  18. Sophia

    Wow i love the 1st one too masha’Allah.
    I also love Hussein Bikar & Sheikha Hessah Al-Maktoum one’s. Beautiful.

  19. l like Jafar Islah s painting .it is interesting.
    who has it and where?
    what is the size?

    thank you
    sayin burku

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