Known in artistic circles as a carefree and spontaneous painter, Shalabiya Ibrahim talks about her work saying: “What I am doing is simple and uninformed… [my] imagination develops the vision which has matured over the years… I still see it as a magical world full of details and scenes that is never exhausted.”

Born in Monufia, Egypt, Shalabiya Ibrahim (1944) is a self-taught artist who began drawing as a teenager. Later, when she married the Syrian artist Nazir Nabaa, he encouraged her to go further with the creation and exhibition of her work. 

With minimal lines and colour spaces, Ibrahim works in watercolour. Influenced by her rural childhood and legends of the Nile river, her work deals with women as representative of the idea of the earth, the mother, reproduction and renewal. These figures are foregrounded and portrayed in tender and free-spirited ways, while the backgrounds have narrative elements or have objects with symbolic meanings.

Ibrahim has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Egypt, Germany, Syria, Lebanon, Spain, Tunisia, France, the UK, Kuwait and Jordan.