In the past few decades, the Middle East has produced a number of noted photographers whose work explores different facets of Arab identity. Among this new generation is Sueraya Shaheen, whose Encounters exhibition is currently on view at Houston’s Barbara Davis Gallery. For her latest project, Sueraya traveled throughout the Middle East to capture portraits of the region’s contemporary artists in their own environments. Although the group includes established and emerging names reshaping the Middle East’s cultural landscape, it is the portraits of female artists, from Beirut to Riyadh, that I found to be the most compelling. Among them is noted Saudi artist Manal AlDowayan, who has exhibited her work at the Venice Biennale.
Born in Beirut to Syrian parents, Sueraya received her BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, in Washington, D.C., and has exhibited her photographs in galleries in Dubai, New York, and Berlin, among many others. Dividing her time between Dubai and New York, Sueraya has also recently published work in Arab Photography Now. Her latest photographs will be included in the upcoming book, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring: Conversations with Artists from the Arab World.
Photos: Courtesy of the artist