Born into poverty and orphaned at age five, the 20th-century Algerian painter Baya Mahieddine had an unlikely path to becoming an artist at all, much less an internationally recognized one. Yet by the time she was 16, she had earned enough acclaim to have her first solo exhibition.
Baya’s story is just one of many available in Mathaf's Encyclopedia of Modern Art and the Arab World. Read about Dia al-Azzawi, considered one of the pioneers of modern Arab art, and find out how he was introduced to art by his older brother. Or delve into the biography of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair, whose wide-ranging interests included quantum physics, Arabic poetry, molecular biology and optics.