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A Look at Syrian Emirati Artist Sarah Alagroobi

Sarah Alagroobi is a curator and educator, known for exploring notions of culture and identity of both Arab and Western contexts through post-colonial discourse. She is also the founder of The Letters Project, an online platform sharing letters from anonymous senders, which center on the anthropological and socio-political climate in the region.

Alagroobi was born to a mixed Syrian Emirati family in Brussels, Belgium in 1989. As a child, she and her family lived in Brussels, but also moved between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While at high school, she moved back to Brussels prior to studying at American University of Rome, Italy in 2011, and American University of Sharjah, the UAE in 2013. In 2018, she would also obtain her MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, in London.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Alagroobi is known for her paintings touching on certain themes. In addition, she has also curated several exhibitions and solo shows in London, Berlin, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and others, as well as being part of collaborations with grassroots initiatives such as Banat Collective. Following the rise of blockchain technology, she has also minted her artworks into Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Furthermore, she is known for her work as an actress, director, and writer in the 2010s, with projects including "The Forbidden Fruit," "The White Room," and "Ten Hours," among others.

Presently, Alagroobi is based between London and Brussels, but has also revisited the UAE. As a result of moving in and out of the Gulf nation, she was able to observe UAE's transformation throughout the years. In fact, this would inspire her to explore the region's social and political climate through her blog, The Letters Project. The online platform allows participants to anonymously send a letter to Alagroobi, each expressing their thoughts on the world around them.

For her work, Alagroobi has received awards, and grants, and has been part of several residency programs. This includes winning first place in Design at the 2013 Sheikha Manal Young Artist Award, Global Women's Forum Rising Talent 2016, ADMAF support with materials grant for two consecutive years, and more. 

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