Yousef Ahmed

Yousef Ahmed is a pioneer of Qatar’s modern art movement. Inspired by the flat desert of Qatar’s landscape, Ahmed creates textured abstractions overlaid with Arabic calligraphy. As a child, Ahmed recalls drawing outside on the walls in his area using coal leftover from the stove, in his continuing practice he has dedicated himself to forging a local aesthetic. Ahmed thus draws from the natural environment through his choice of colour, texture, and materials, which he often fabricates himself.


Born in Qatar, Ahmed trained at Helwan University in Cairo, returning to Qatar in 1976, when he was appointed manager of the Culture and Arts Department within the Ministry of Information. In 1982, he travelled to California to pursue a master’s degree in painting at Mills College, during which time he transitioned to working on large scale compositions. When Ahmed returned to Qatar, he taught art appreciation at Qatar University, a position he held for over 20 years.

A close friend of Sheikh Hassan bin Mohamed bin Ali Al Thani, Ahmed played a role in building the collection which would eventually become the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, an institution for which he continues to serve as an art consultant. Ahmed’s mixed media works are held in important collections throughout the world, including the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Yousef Ahmed lives and works in Qatar.