Here is a look at 10 Khaleeji artists who break down barriers with their work.
1. Shurooq Amin, Kuwait
Working as a mixed-media interdisciplinary artist, Amin has a PhD in Ekphrasis, the connection between art and poetry, and has been published and anthologized internationally. Her work centers around issues of censorship and woman's issues. One of her exhibitions was shut down by Kuwaiti authorities in March of 2012. But just a year later she received the title of Artist of the Year by the Arab Woman Awards.
2. Faraj Daham, Qatar
Daham's work focuses on the movement of organic bodies. His art searches for the appropriate artistic equivalent for rearranging organic entities. Daham has succeed in capturing the imaginations of both Qatari and International audiences, winning several prestigious awards.
3. Mounirah Mosly, Saudi Arabia
Born in Mecca, Mosly graduated from Cairo's College of Fine Arts. In 2007, she founded the art festival in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. She considers herself a part of "all civilizations, all races, all arts, and all times" according to her website.
4. Khalid Farhan, Bahrain
Farhan considers Freud the key to his sculptures, which are characterized by an abstract style and the simplicity of their impression. Using wood, stone and brass, spherical shapes and hemispheres are apparent in his work, and have a focus on duality.
5. Lamya Gargash, UAE
Gargahs was the first Emirati artist to represent her country at the Venice Biennial in 2009. Her photographs examine how different aspects of tradition and culture are preserved, transformed or erased as society rapidly evolves around her.
6. Abdulhalim Radwi, Saudi Arabia
One of the first Saudis sponsored by the government to pursue a degree in art abroad, Radwi is one of the kingdom's most respected artists. His work is guided by both modernist sensibilities and cultural heritage. He represents themes surrounding desert life, folklore and traditional architecture.
7. Layla Juma, UAE
Juma employs geometric shapes to convey ideas of form and sequence in striking, rhythmic works of art. She is a member of Emirates Fine Arts Society and draws inspiration from prolific Emirati artists, such as the legendary Hassan Sharif and Mohammed Kazem. Her work has been displayed throughout the Gulf as well as in Japan and Switzerland.
8. Hassan Meer, Oman
Meer's work investigates changes in cultural and individual identity in relation to a collective experience. Working with a wide range of mediums, Meer's work varies from paintings, to photographs and installations. His work has been exhibited throughout the Gulf as well as in Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
9. Ahmed Mater, Saudi Arabia
Mater's not just an artist. He's also a medical doctor. Not only is he a medical doctor artist, he's also an entrepreneur.
Mater is the founder of the Al-Meftaha Arts Village in Abha. His work encompasses photography, calligraphy, painting, installation, performance and video. Recently, his work has focused on exploring local collective memory and unofficial histories behind contemporary Saudi Arabian sociopolitical life.
10. Sophia Al Maria, Qatar
Maria's work in the last few years has centered around the concept of Gulf Futurism. Her interests primarily relate to the isolation of individuals through technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of industry and consumerism, the erasure of history and the approach of a future nobody is ready for.