Even as world headlines from the Middle East focus on upheaval and violence, the region's culture continues to thrive. Here's our look at some groups and individuals making their mark on arts and culture in the region, in no particular order.
Abdul Qader Al-Rais, United Arab Emirates
The UAE's leading contemporary artist, Abdul Qader Al-Rais, who often wears a long beard and traditional Emirati garb, is self-taught. Born in 1951, his depictions of landscapes and architecture are done in “photorealistic” fashion and his abstract renderings often include Arabic writing. In some of Al-Rais' paintings, the UAE is a far cry from the skyscraper-saturated skyline of today's Dubai.