The Middle East is not just about business or family vacations, but also a hotspot for an emerging generation of hip-hop artistes, designers, and photographers. Here are five people you must follow in the Middle East on Instagram right now.
Dawsha | MUSICIAN, EGYPT
A slow, underground hip-hop and rap movement has been brewing in Egypt, and with the Arab Spring, Tahrir Square became the focal point for many such acts of protest and dissent. Mohamed Ehab, known by his stage name, Dawsha, is an emerging talent in this space; young, driven and full of original ideas, this rapper is already a force to reckon with, thanks to his inimitable style and angstridden lyrics that draw from his personal experiences. Listen to him on Soundcloud here.
Reif Othman | CHEF, DUBAI
Dubai is food central; and at the forefront of the emirate’s stellar dining scene is Chef Reif Othman, the man behind the successful Zuma that has outposts in Abu Dhabi and Istanbul besides Dubai. The young Singaporean chef has been cooking up a storm in Dubai and is largely credited with putting Zuma (Dubai) on the world’s 100 Best Restaurants List for four consecutive years. The next time you are in the city, dine at his brand new Mediterranean-Asian restaurant, Play Restaurant and Lounge, that was launched recently on the 36th floor of H Hotel.
Ali Saadi | PHOTOGRAPHER, JORDAN
This award-winning Jordanian photographer is best-known for capturing lively, high-energy moments, and is among the most sought-after wedding photographers in Amman. His black-and-white images are works of art, and every picture of his evokes a strong emotion—of love, joy, faith, hope, despair.
Shadia and Raja Alem | ARTISTS, SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia is at the cusp of a burgeoning contemporary art scene, and guess who’s at the helm of this movement? Women. Shadia and Raja Alem from Mecca are known names in the country’s artscape. Shadia is a visual artist, and Raja, a writer who won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction; they now divide their time between Jeddah and Paris. A few years ago, the duo was chosen to represent Saudi Arabia at the Venice Biennale, marking the country’s first ever entry into the world’s most coveted art show.
Janaab Sayyida Daliya Fakhri Al Said | FASHION DESIGNER, OMAN
Edgy, futuristic and, fun, this spunky designer has been redefining fashion in Oman over the last few years. Her label, House Of Zaya, fuses the designer’s passion for contemporary art and fabric to create casual-chic wear that makes a bold statement. Daliya herself grew up around the world—from Japan to South Africa—and uses her diverse influences to create unique hand-made garments that have a global appeal. We’re coveting her bomber jackets and crop tops.