Shatha Altowai

IIE-Artist Protection Fund Fellow
Shatha Altowai

Shatha Altowai is a Yemeni visual artist who has been producing art since 2014. She has exhibited with several art galleries in Yemen and overseas.

Shatha graduated with a Bachelor in Information Technology with Honors from the University of Utara Malaysia (2014), which was a collaboration program with the University of Science and Technology in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Since then, she held a couple of administrative and technical positions in the private sector in Yemen until 2018, when she decided to fully engage in her passion for art.

Much of Shatha’s work reflects aspects of life in her society, and the suffering caused by the ongoing civil war in Yemen. Through her figurative, symbolic, and abstract paintings, Shatha has produced artworks and collections to shed light on issues such as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), women, detainees, coexistence and enlightenment.

Shatha has a shared art practice with her husband Saber Bamatraf, the pianist and music composer. Their marriage in 2014 was the turning point for both of them. Shatha usually tends to find inspirations for paintings from Saber's music, and vice-versa. They have demonstrated their art-life experience - as a married couple whose living in a very conservative and tribal society - through a number of youth and international initiatives; these include their TED Talk “TEDxLIUSanaa: the Synesthesia" and the documentary film Voice of the Rainbow.

Shatha has been awarded an IIE-Artist Protection Fund (APF) Fellowship 2020-21 and in residence at IASH together with her husband Saber, who is also an APF Fellow.

In July 2021, she won the John Byrne Award.

Shatha shares her artworks and activities through the following social media platforms:




Artist Protection Fund (link)

Twitter: @APF_IIE

Instagram: @artistprotectionfund