In celebration of International Women’s Day, check out the inspiring artistic local talent in Dubai!

Today is International Women’s Day, and in celebration of all the women artists in the region, we have selected a few that have inspired us with their amazing art works and talent. Here are some of the best contemporary Dubai based female artists.

1.Raluca Ciupe @ralucaciupeart

Raluca Ciupe was born in 1987, in the northern part of Transylvania, a historical and mystical land of Romania, commonly associated throughout the world with vampires, because of the influence of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula and the many films the tale inspired.

Her creativity was stimulated from an early age, as she was exposed to the artistic skills and talent of her grandfather and mother. Later on, Raluca demonstrated an innate artistic talent for drawing and painting, focusing on exposing feelings and emotions that were prevailing her life and experiences.

“Capturing the emotion is everything for me! In my journey, it has always been about the feelings andthat is what I remember most about any person, location, situation or object.”

Raluca’s paintings are nestled between her inner and outer world. Rather than attempting to create a realistic interpretation, she focuses on revealing the duality, the hidden message of her artwork. 

Her interest in human emotions has been a constant source of inspiration since childhood, the struggles of life in the current society, the inequality and the ever-changing environment. 

“My creative process is always based on a strong emotion and a deep message that I want to convey through my artwork. I love using vivid colors that uplift the soul and takes every viewer in new experience when connecting with my paintings.”

2.Maria Kova @maria.the.artist

Mariia Perevoshchikova (Maria Kova) is a contemporary artist specializing in abstract acrylic paintings. Maria was born in Russia in 1986, and developed passion for art at an early age. Her mother was always fond of art, and encouraged Maria to continue doing what she seems to be naturally very good at. At the age of 18 Maria finished The South-Ural Fine Arts School, where she developed her understanding of color, line, form, composition, and art history.

“As an abstract artist I aspire to create ethereal visions anyone any age, gender, race or cultural background can be touched by or relate to, universal by design and individual by the effect it makes on a viewer.
My art is more about igniting an emotional experience rather than rationalizing a concept. It aims to boost imagination and inspire, invites to explore the inner realms and the dimensions beyond the known.”

In 2010, Maria settled in the beautiful tropical island of Bali, Indonesia. For 6 years Bali was the spiritual home for her and her renewed love for art. Success at local art exhibitions on the island provided her with the confidence to pursue her art career.

“My inspiration comes from nature, I intend to synchronize strokes with resonations from nature’s structures, revealing sacred spaces, it is there where I channel the morphing magic into paintings. Aesthetic experience is as important as the emotional.”

In 2017, Maria moved to Dubai, UAE. New environment of the fast changing, dynamic and multinational city made impact on Maria’s art style and opened new opportunities for her emerging art career.
At the present time, Maria lives and works in Dubai, UAE.

“I work with number of different mediums and techniques to create an effect I strive for. The main medium is acrylic paint. Airbrush and spay paint allows me to achieve mystical and dreamlike effect. Combination of expressive brushstrokes and color splashes with geometrical and precise lines creates a dynamic conversation between different frames of mind.
Through the use of dramatic perspective, texture and value changes, I aim to make it appear as though the viewer can visually enter the painting and have a vivid immersive experience.”

For more information, please see:

3.Julia Smolenkova @julia_smolenkova

Julia Smolenkova, an award-winning contemporary artist is best known for her colorful art series Cities. In her artworks, connection between the abstract and the real create new space level. The paintings from the collection “Cities” are the portraits of each town, the artist has visited. By indulging this concept in her art, Julia develops her coloristic vision by exposing the perspective of expanse on one plane, allowing only light and color to guide the viewer through the painting.

Her success has been cemented with great demand from galleries in Paris, Brussels, Milan, New York, Dubai and is regularly purchased by enthusiasts globally. Julia’s work adorns walls in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, San Francisco, New York, Washington, Paris, Nice, Venice, Moscow, Rome, Tokyo, as well as in Zurich, Istanbul, Amsterdam, London and across the Middle East.

“I’m sure that the feeling of space, time, light, and proportions are obvious to a regular viewer and does not need any explanations.”

The artist’s series of paintings tells us about her encounters with new as well as already familiar cities, squares, streets. A city is your perfect guide to other centuries, bygone eras and countries. It is a portrait of each era and at the same time it is contemporary.

For more information, please see:

4.Clare Napper @highlifeposters

British graphic designer Clare Napper and former Head of Design at Saatchi and Saatchi, moved to the UAE in 2007 where she worked on the launch of the Dubai Metro in 2009 – this being the project that sparked her love of vintage travel posters during her research, such as those from the London Underground. It was this old lithograph aesthetic that was to become her signature style: self initiated work looking through a lens of social commentary at expat life in the Emirates.  

“I wanted to make art about my UAE experience that shared deeper insights into life out here that had not been captured in art before. I found that exciting. The transience of this place gives me an ongoing purpose to create work that connects with expats that might be moving on, and to work hard as fun, vivid souvenirs that can be cherished as fond memories.”

In 2014 she quit branding and advertising to set up her own independent studio, and soon after embarked on her first collection of artworks: the now iconic series of ‘Highlife Vintage Posters’. Six years on and having sold over 15,000 art prints through her online store and pop up shop, Clare has expanded into designing poster merchandise and gift items, slowly building a well loved brand of expat souvenirs.

After five solo shows in the UAE, Clare has garnered local and international press for the satirical nature of her work –unusual in the Middle East– and received local accolades for influencing the art scene.  At Sikka Art Fair 2019 she built her first public installation entitled ‘A Life on the Fly’ where her Highlife series was given the royal approval by Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Recent commissions include works for Peroni Nastro Azzuro and EXPO 2020.

“My vintage poster aesthetic allows me to take the ordinary and re-frame it as foreign and idealised as was the appeal of these joyous old travel ads. Using a satirical lens where possible, I get to combine my love of art and design whilst exploring local themes and scenes in the hope of highlighting how privileged we are to be enjoying this temporary lifestyle in the sun.”

For more information, please see:

5.Sonu Sultania @sonusultaniaa

Sonu is an award-winning contemporary artist, who is driven by her dreams, passion and emotions. Sonu likes experimenting with several techniques and mediums but Alcohol Ink is her favorite medium to play with and she is passionate about it.

Having lived in several countries, Sonu uses travelling as a great opportunity to explore and delve into the cultural influences and origins of the art produced in those various communities, cities and countries. Sonu also gets her inspirations from her photography and various philosophies which focus on nature, love, community development and personal development through self-discipline and responsibility.

“I am a visual storyteller and each of my work revolves around a tale, a moment, a dream or a journey, it could be real or a fantasy, but it would be magical. The process behind my ink paintings is very therapeutic which blends meditation with my artistic ideas and helps to focus on my perceptions, imagination, and feelings to create something that explores & expresses my inner world as well as my surroundings.”

Sonu has participated in several art exhibitions across the world but would like to specifically mention the one which was held at Pro Art Gallery, Dubai where one of her works was exhibited along with the great works of legendary Master artists like Picasso, Dali, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

For more information, please see:

6.Maria Iqbal @maria5pop

Maria Iqbal is an Afghan-American artist based in the UAE. The world is her canvas; She creates and transforms everything from chairs to handbags, walls and clothes. Her designs spell out a new language of high-end art pieces that span traditional shapes and forms and cannot be neatly labeled or contained. Materials are only limited by the imagination and include locally sourced leather, custom printed textiles, canvas, plastic, wood, paints, and even the humble pencil. 

Born in Kabul and raised in Dubai by her traditional Afghan family, Maria grew up with Bollywood movies, larger-than-life icons, and inspirations gleamed from the melting pot of cultures that bring her adopted city to life. She received a Bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and a graduate degree in Art Direction from Miami Ad School before going on to a high-powered career as an art director at prominent advertising agencies in Chicago & an year in Mumbai.

“I believe that design should represent your individual style. If you want to live a unique life, surround yourself with objects and fashion that tell your story – from the bed that you sleep on every night, to the bag you’ll carry to a special event. As a former advertising creative, I naturally think in slogans and am attracted to words, humor, and faces that are famous in popular culture. I can’t help but smile at the idea of wearable, fully functional art that is part of the human experience and does not belong in a sterile gallery.”

The designer’s playful studio in the heart of Dubai is an explosion of colors, textiles, and concepts. Her creations are functional works of hand painted art, deeply influenced by pop culture, irreverent humor, travel, and societal trends. Although she is no longer an advertising executive in the big city, Maria’s creations send eye-catching messages in a clever, snappy way and are constantly evolving to reflect our fast-paced, consumer-centric world. 

“In the attempt to live a unique life, there are no limits. The journey has just begun, and I look forward to the unexpected juxtapositions that await and surprise us,” says Iqbal.

Each of Maria’s functional creations represents a conversation between the designer and the collector. Many of her favorite pieces have come as a result of bespoke commissions by fashion houses, design showrooms, global brands, or fashionable individuals. Maria loves the challenge of hearing a collector’s simple idea and transforming a color, shape, or need into an all-consuming vision.

For more information, please see:

7.Kristel Bechara @kristelbechara

Born in Lebanon and based in Dubai, Kristel Bechara is an award-winning contemporary artist who has quickly established herself as the rising star of the Middle Eastern art world.

Recognized for her dynamic patterns and expressive colours, Kristel’s artwork consists of the revolutionary creation of photographic imagery using oil, acrylic and giclée printmaking mediums to depict complex emotions and also portray the human condition. Her artistic process involves creating stencil-like drawings that are combined with modern mixed media lines to form multi-layered fantasy paintings.

Her new collection, called the PSYCHOMACHIA collection, is a series of paintings named after an epic poem from the 5th century AD by the Latin poet, Prudentius. Considered one of the most influential works in medieval allegory, the themes and ideas explored in the poem, PSYCHOMACHIA, are timeless with its many verses being of great relevance particularly in today’s narrative.

Kristel’s work has been displayed around the world to great appreciation and demand, especially from galleries in Tokyo, Milano, Brussels, and France. She has received high acclaim in UAE as well, notably winning the UAE Resident Artist Award at the 2018 World Art Dubai for her collection, Beauty in Diversity.

8.Lourdy Ghourayeb @inkyways

Dubai-based artist and designer Lourdy Ghorayeb depicts moments, people and their identities. With her unique style, she draws her artwork by putting the pen on paper and not taking it off until the piece is finished. Focusing on the very essence of things, she represents the way she sees the world in a single line through her platform, Inky Ways.

 “One line art is some kind of therapy to me. It brings me focus; I love the idea of putting the pen on paper and letting my hand do whatever it likes freely, it’s like drawing the shapes of my thoughts and feelings. I really believe that there is a connection between our body, people, places and vibes that surrounds us. We surround ourselves with things we love. Things that touch and inspire us by their beauty or that capture memories of people and moments we treasure. Therefore, I wake up everyday with a mission to capture and deconstruct people and moments through one continuous line” says Ghorayeb.

9.Nada Al Barazi @nadaalbarazi

As a self-taught artist, Nada has been enchanted by art since childhood but she effectively started to focus on art since 2017. Living in Dubai, Nada indulges in creating something new every time she uses the brush. Inspired by nature, Nada uses oil and acrylic paint focusing mainly on nature elements. This reflects her interest in sharing creations with others in its most organic form, and showing her creativity. 

Nada had a solo exhibition in 2018 and has been on TV programs and newspapers to raise the awareness of art in UAE. She firmly believes in sharing joy, happiness, and positivity with others specially those who are in need. For this, she supports several exhibitions for children with special needs and donates artwork to their centers to encourage artistic fundamentals in young children. 

Nada has participated in several key exhibitions and events since 2017. Some of these events are: World Art Dubai, Carousel Du Louvre at the Louvre Museum in Paris, Kunooz Art Exhibition in London, Flyer Art Gallery as well as Atelier Montez in Rome, and Townly Gallery in New York. Furthermore, she is a member of several galleries in Dubai and collaborates with other local and international galleries.

“Flowers Field”, Nada Al Barazi

10.Beata Pekalska @beabea.artstudio

Beata is a travel enthusiast and an artist from Europe, who has travelled extensively around the world, inspiring her artworks.

“I am mainly inspired by nature. Those two big passions turned into a lifestyle over time.Thanks to them I’m here in this beautiful part of the world doing what I love: Art.”

“For my artworks I use high quality materials that I carefully choose to suit the nature of each artwork. I create my own sets of pigment that make each painting unique.”