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One of the United Arab Emirate's foremost artists and the first to pursue art as a professional career, Abdul Qader Al Rais is a pioneer in his field.


Prominently, his art remains relevant five decades after he first launched his career because he is dynamic in his approach and his style and talents are continually evolving. From his earliest brushstrokes, he learned under the tutelage of mentors in Kuwait to become a master of watercolor and abstraction.


Al Rais is an artist who is dedicated to his country and whose artwork encompasses many layers of the UAE's culture and heritage.


Retrospectives of the master's extensive artistic career have been held in numerous exhibition halls and museums in the UAE and other countries.

The artist was featured in the UAE Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, and his work is currently held by The British Museum, the Louvre, the Northwest Museum of Culture and Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, and the Museum of Modern Art in New Delhi.


His work has also been displayed at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, and his public murals can be found in the Dubai Airport and the Dubai Metro.


Among his numerous awards are the Sheikh Khalifa Prize for Art and Literature, Abu Dhabi (2006); Golden Palm Award, Gulf Cooperation Council Art Exhibition, Doha (1999); first prize at The UAE in the Eyes of Its Artists, Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation (1999); Sultan Al Owais Award for Scientific Studies and Creativity, Dubai (1992, 1994, 1996) and first prize at the UAE Exhibition in China.


Abdul Qader Al Rais paintings could be seen  in the royal residences, palaces and government offices of the UAE Leaders.

The works of this famous artist can be seen in many museums and exhibition halls in the UAE, as well as in popular public places of the country and international airport terminals. His paintings have been used to decorate the Dubai Metro.




Born in Dubai in 1955, Abdul Raheem lived between Bahrain and the UAE and credits his grandmother for encouraging him to pursue art. “I have come into this world for a reason and I think that reason was to be an artist,” he says.

Michelangelo came to influence and fascinate Raheem during his early teens and contributed to a process of self-reflection. Other key inspirations are magic, mysticism, darkness and light and geometry, which he tries to reflect in his paintings.

The Master pays his tribute to a Woman in such a profound way.
Perhaps inspired by his grandmother, two other pivotal themes in Raheem’s oeuvre are those of heritage and women. “Without showing the gestures of the face, he succeeds in transforming the shape of a female into various women with different characters, depicting softness, sadness, pain and sensuality".

His practice came to revolve around the tale of Maheerah, the subject of an urban legend told to him by his grandmother. A man whose advances she refused cursed Maheerah – a beautiful woman who lived in Sharjah. Legend has it that she later died alone, burned by the flames that kept her warm in a camp where heretics were banished.

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