UAE-based artist transforms everyday objects into art

The artist has been transforming everyday objects into art for the last nine years. (Instagram)
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Updated 24 May 2020

UAE-based artist transforms everyday objects into art

DUBAI: If you walk into the new Radisson RED Hotel in Dubai’s Digital Park, you will be greeted by many vibrant, cheerful colors. It is hard to miss the work of Afghan-American pop artist Maria Iqbal, one of the artists commissioned to bring the property alive through art. 

“Literally every nook and cranny of the space is covered with my digital illustrations. It is a Millennial-friendly hotel. Young people are obsessed with social media, hence every surface is worthy of an Instagram shot,” Iqbal told Arab News. 

Born in Kabul, the artist was raised in the UAE, and she has been transforming everyday objects into art for the last nine years. 

“I’ve been painting for as long as I can remember,” she said. “I’ve taken art classes but found them limiting. I studied marketing in college because art schools stressed theory and talk over creativity.” 

Iqbal naturally gravitated towards pop art.

“My work is my commentary on the world, and I want to live in a fantasy world,” the artist said. “I’m not ashamed to say it.” 

There is nothing Iqbal cannot transform into art; she sees the world as her canvas. She started out customizing furniture and has since transitioned to painting bags. 

“I truly believe that art lives among us and not just on our walls or on a canvas,” Iqbal said.

She credits this region for giving her the right platform for her voice.

“Pop art is very popular in this region; the UAE is a young and fashion-forward country.  Since pop culture is very relevant in the age of social media, it has seen a natural progression toward the distillation of pop art, which celebrates fun, boldness, beauty and fashion. Pop art is youthful, hopeful, uplifting and empowering,” the artist said.

Currently working on her first book, Iqbal serves as a great reminder of how you can carve out your own niche and follow your passion.

Egyptian photographer to take part in exhibition in Germany 

Updated 12 August 2020

Egyptian photographer to take part in exhibition in Germany 

DUBAI: Egyptian photographer Mohamed Hassan is among a long list of international artists who will showcase their work at “Facing Britain,” an exhibition scheduled at Germany’s renowned Museum Goch. 

The fair, set to take place from Sept. 27 to Nov 7, focuses on the period of Britain’s European Union membership between 1963 until 2020. 


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A post shared by Mo Hassan محمد حسن ( on

Hassan, who has been living in Wales since 2007, will showcase his work that he says “aims to challenge some of the stereotypes and judgements that people make about other people.”

“My personal experience as an Egyptian living in Wales for the last 10 years is that I am often judged or stereotyped by my appearance,” Hassan, who is originally from Alexandria, says on his website. 


Portrait of an amazing artist @lindanorrisglass Check her work on

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“During the last few years, as a result of events in the world, I have personal experience of less tolerance of my background with people sometimes behaving very negatively towards me as a fear of Islam and Muslims has grown,” he added. 

Hassan’s art has been exhibited at prestigious galleries including Wales’s Mission Gallery, the Waterfront National Museum, London’s Trajectory Showcase Competition Exhibition and more.



A post shared by Mo Hassan محمد حسن ( on

The exhibition also focuses on the 1970s and 1980s, when artistic documentary photography gained an importance worldwide.

Besides Hassan, the exhibition will also present work of artists from around the world including: James Barnor, John Bulmer, Rob Bremner, Thom Corbishley, Robert Darch, Anna Fox, Henry Grant, Ken Grant, Judy Greenway and many more.