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Incredible, mysterious , unique...



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 triangle, believes Raheem, is the most powerful form in nature and encapsulates tremendous energy, particularly at its upper tip and is a shape he returns to time and again, rendering it in black and white to emphasise its facets and character.


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.


“I was so deeply affected by her story,” recalls the Master. “I fell in love with this woman.” As he fine-tuned his practice, Raheem’s affection for Maheerah grew and her story continues to inform his works, which are all entitled "She And Me". It's an incredible fact that The Master devoted 35 years of his life to this lady.


From painting over stone sculptures and pencil drawings to his abstract canvases and geometric works, Abdul Raheem seeks to incite audience engagement. “If I create something which is easily understandable then it’s mundane, I want to shake people up with my art. It’s like waking them up from their slumber, making them ponder over something, making them think in a new direction,” he says.


After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Art with a specialisation in Sculpture from Cairo University in 1981, Abdul Raheem returned to the UAE where he honed his practice, taught art in public schools and became one of the founders of the Emirates Fine Arts Society in 1980. Though he works across various media, he focused on painting Maheerah in different forms: they evolved from figuration to nudes and later began depicting her in the form of triangles or squares. “I wanted people to imagine Maheerah the way they wanted to, without imposing my point of view,” he says.



1990: First Exhibition held by Emirates Fine Arts Society in India.

1992: International Biennial exhibition, Cairo.

1994: Third periodical fine Arts Exhibition for GCC Countries Artist.

1995: Fourteenth General Exhibition, Expo Sharjah.

1995: Biennial Exhibition, Cairo.

1995: Biennial Exhibition, Syria

1995: Biennial Exhibition, Bangladesh.

1996: Exhibition held within the scope of Dubai Shopping Festival.

1996: International Furniture Exhibition held within the Scope of Expo Sharjah.

1996: "Arab Colors" Exhibition, Sharjah Museum of Arts.

1997: Third Session of the International Biennial Exhibition, Sharjah.

1998: Seventeenth General Exhibition, Sharjah Museum of Arts.

1998: Portraits Exhibition held at Sharjah Museum of Arts.

1998: "The Emirates in the Eyes of its Artists" Exhibition held at the Cultural Foundation.

2000: Expo Hannover, Germany

2001: 3rd Sharjah Biennale

2003: Germany

2005: “Institute of Arab Monde”, Paris, France

2005: “Language of the desert”, Bonn, Germany

2006: Institute Francais Dubai, UAE (solo show)

2006: «Languages of the Desert», Cultural Institute of Abu Dhabi, UAE

2007: Warsaw, Poland

2007: “Total Arts Gallery”, Dubai, UAE

2007: “Sharjah Cultural Days”, Vienna, Austria

2007: International Exhibition, Korea

2007: UAE Embassy, New York, USA

2007: Emirates Fine Art Society, Sharjah, UAE

2007: “Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the UAE”, Paris, France

2008: “Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the UAE”, Koblenz, Germany

2008: Rome, Italy

2008: Cultural Centre, Marocco

2008: Alexandria Library, Egypt

2008: Emirates Fine Art Society, Sharjah, UAE

2008: Denmark

2015: UAE pavilion, Venice biennial, Italy

2009- 2021: Emirates Fine Art Society, Sharjah, UAE

2021: Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation solo exhibition


10 solo exhibitions in UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Cairo



1980: First Position at Beginners Exhibition, Cairo, on the Universities Level.

1992: Prize of the Jury at the Biennial Exhibition, Cairo.

1993: First Prize at the Biennial Exhibition, Sharjah.

1993: Silver Prize at the Sixth Asian Artists Biennial Exhibition, Bangladesh.

1993: First Prize at "Al AWAISS Scientific Studies and Innovations" Competition.

1994: First Prize at Dubai International Exhibition.

1998: Second position (Professional Artists Category) at the "Emirates in the Eyes of its Artists" Exhibition.

1999: “Gold Pearl”, Kuwait

1999: 3rd prize at “Environmental Days”, UAE

2007: 3rd prize “Al Bahar”, Saudi Arabia

2008:     prize “ the Emirates award for art “

Paintings Permanently Displayed at:

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