The Middle East’s leading international art fair, Art Dubai, has just taken place. With it, talent from across the region shared their work spanning countless disciplines. Thinking outside the box, three artists pick up their brushes, pens, and palettes to create their own masterpieces. The only difference? Their canvas is a face. That’s right, these are makeup artists.

Hessa Alajaji inspired by Abdulmohsen Al Rowais 

Saudi artist Abdulmohsen Al Rowais’s graphic art was an inspiration to fellow Saudi and makeup artist Hessa Alajaji. Inspired by the region’s heritage and tradition, his work is abstract and ever evolving, moving from canvas to walls, ceramics, and everyday objects. “I discovered Al Rowais quite recently, but I fell in love with his art from the get-go. I love how simple and minimal it is, but still not empty by any means,” Alajaji explains. For her look, Alajaji worked with blues and reds to create a minimal, but statement look. “I love how one dimensional his work is, but he still can give you a lot of layers in his art! I just really enjoy shapes,” she adds.

Michel Kiwarkis inspired by Shaun Killa

The recently opened Dubai Museum of the Future created by Dubai-based architect Shaun Killa inspired Lebanese makeup artist Michel Kiwarkis to create his design. “The Arabic alphabet, for me, is very artistic. I find it and the Museum itself a piece of art from the interior to the exterior design,” he says. Inspired by the Arabic poem Windows, written by Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Kiwarkis was inspired to create something of the same spirit, but for the face. “If you can read the letters, they spell مكياج which means makeup in Arabic,” he explains of his graphic design.

Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi inspired by Salima Chaieb

“My look is inspired by Salima Chaieb’s designs, where she uses a very famous fabric called Benchrif,” explains Moroccan makeup artist Wissale Ait Lhaj Loutfi. This is a true ode to Morocco with both the fashion designer and the fabric hailing from Ait Lhaj Loutfi’s home country, too. “This fabric has been used by our Moroccan ancestors in clothing as well as home furnishing,” she explains of its golden leaves and colorful floral embroidery. Both have a passion for preserving their culture through their art whether it be with a brush, or a needle and thread.