Middleeast

Western pop icons, Bedouin-style

by Sarah Hassan, CNN

Updated 11:34 PM ET, Tue September 19, 2017
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Mohannad Al Osaimi says growing up exposed to both Western pop culture and the conservative norms of his small Saudi town have inspired his work, such as this depiction of Prince William. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram
Al Osaimi believes the "weirdness" of the cultural combinations he creates is the reason behind their success. Here, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" painting is given an Arab twist. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram
Al Osaimi says he is "obsessed with Western pop culture." British singer Adele is one of his favorite subjects. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram
Al Osaimi's is one of the many young Saudi voices mixing local culture with Western pop icons, such as painter Vincent Van Gogh. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram
Aside from Adele, Al Osaimi has made "Saudi" depictions of famous movie posters, American president Donald Trump, and even the famous "Yes we can!" poster. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram
Many other young Saudi artists are turning to digital art to "Arabize" several famous Western and international pop culture figures, such as American actors Johnny Depp (left) and George Clooney. Fida Alhussan/Instagram
Fida Al Hussan is using the "East meets West" style for social criticism. She describes this piece as a reminder to Saudi women to unleash their potential. Fida Alhussan/Instagram
Al Hussan says that "younger generations (of Saudis) have had enough of Western pop culture and are now carrying more pride in their own." Here, American icon Micky Mouse is brought into Arab culture. Fida Alhussan/Instagram
Abdallah Al Harthy, a freelance artist, was among the first Saudis to use digital art to imagine famous celebrities, such as rapper Eminem (left) and actor Kevin Spacey, as Saudis, back in 2010. Abdallah AlHarthy/Instagram
"In Western cinema, the person wearing the Arab attire is always depicted as a bad person, a terrorist," says Al Harthy. "By showing celebrities looking stylish in our attire, I am showing the world an alternative image to the 'bad' Arab they are used to seeing." Even political figures such as US President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been portrayed in this way. Mohannad AlOsaimi/Instagram