United Arab Emirates-based expressionist artist Noor Bahjat (b.1991) mostly references herself in her works. Such practice, however, is not meant to be self-aggrandizing. In doing her own portraits, Bahjat opens up to the intricacies of portraying the personal and the feminine, giving her still-life-like pieces their own inner worlds.

If not putting her own image in her works, Bahjat also works toward mapping human’s relationship with nature. This pivot towards the planetary was inspired by her trip to the Philippines in 2016. Since then, the breadth of her own visual vocabulary has broadened to tackle urgent ecological issues.

Born in Syria, Bahjat earned her bachelor’s degree in painting from the University of Damascus. Prior to this, she has taken different courses in drawing and painting from The Russian Center and Adhan Ismail Art Center. Since she began exhibiting in 2012, Bahjat has showcased her works in Syria, Korea, Dubai, Italy and the Philippines. In 2020, she represented Syria in the Dubai Expo.