Working Artists

Sarah Warda

Instagram: Wardafinearts

Sarah Warda is an Assyrian American realist painter from Connecticut. She received her formal education from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and the Art Students League of New York with Harvey Dinnerstein, and workshops with Aaron Shikler. Her work has been displayed in notable venues such as the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Arts Club of New York City, New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Zhou B Art Center Chicago. She has participated in numerous exhibitions, including Oil Painters of America, NOAPS, Connecticut Women Artists, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Arts Club of New York City, and PoetsArtists. She has been commissioned for numerous illustrations, murals, and portraits for public, private, and corporate collections.

Scott Christian Sava


Scott Christian Sava is an animator, illustrator, director, writer, producer and part-time Hobbit! Over the last twenty years, Scott Christian Sava's work has brought some of the world's most beloved characters to life in film, television, comics, and games. From Casper the Friendly Ghost to the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to Star Trek and Spider-Man. Scott's unique talents and vision have been called upon by Disney, Universal Studios, Nickelodeon, and more. In 2000 he founded Blue Dream Studios, which has produced work for Star Wars, X-Files, Aliens vs. Predator, Spider-Man, and other franchises, in addition to creating its own line of kids graphic novels. The studio's first feature film, Animal Crackers, is now on Netflix and was the Summer of 2020's #1 animated movie in the world. Scott and his wife and two kids live in Franklin, TN. Scott's mission, simply put, is to make "the world a kinder, gentler place, one story at a time.

Qais Al-Sindy

Facebook: Qais Al-Sindy
Instagram: @qais_alsindy

Qais Al-Sindy was born in Baghdad. In 2000, he received a Bachelor of Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts from Baghdad University and in 2004 he received his MFA (Masters in Fine Arts) from the same school. His work explores the world we are living in and the inner feelings of humanity and how they connect to each other through various beliefs, mentalities and politics. He has participated in several solo exhibitions and group shows in the USA and Middle East.

Reni Stephan


Facebook: Studio Lamassu

Reni Stephan was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1981, but his family would later make the difficult decision to leave their home country due to persecution. They resettled in Detroit, Michigan in 1993, where he would discover his profound love for drawing. His talent was undeniable, even at an early age.

Stephan later attended the College for Creative Studies, where he furthered his artistic studies. With each piece he creates, he merges his love of art and his heritage. He is committed to recreating ancient Assyrian works that have been destroyed in Iraq and Syria.

Rima Lahdo

Facebook Page: Rima lahdo-art

Instagram Page: rimalahdo_art

Rima Lahdo was born in Syria in 1972, and grew up in the city of Qamishli. She studied at the (Roland Khoury) Private Academy of Fine Arts for four years, and her graduation thesis was about the Art of European Orientalism. Later on, Lahdo worked for the National Museum of Aleppo for ten years. She participated in many group exhibitions in Aleppo and Damascus. Lahdo moved to Germany in 2014, and underwent several special courses to learn painting techniques. The topics of Rima Lahdo’s artistic work revolve around the issues related to women and the human feelings that they experience. Her paintings contain many symbols and inscriptions related to the civilization of Mesopotamia, to say: “Yes I am proudly the daughter of this ancient civilization.”

Fred Parhad


Fred Parhad is a self-taught sculptor with more than 35 years of professional dedication to his work. Instead of pursuing artistic studies at UC Berkeley, Parhad chose instead to pursue a life in the arts and sought a path of his own. He considers history his greatest teacher, having spent countless hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art independently studying classical works. 

In 1978, Parhad began working on a considerable collection of classic Assyrian sculptures which are now found across the United States. One of his most famous works, the Ashurbanipal Monument, now stands tall outside the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, California. 

Paul Batou


Paul Batou, a native to Iraq, received a degree in pharmaceutical studies in 1982 from the University of Baghdad. While in school, Batou was inspired by many teachers and artists at the University.

In 1980, he participated in his first art show in Baghdad. After graduating, he was forced to serve in the Iraq-Iran war as a medic. He left Iraq in 1989 and moved to Los Angeles, where he has continued to create art that celebrates Assyrian heritage and inspires many.

Agnes Ishak

Instagram Page: @agnes.ishak

Agnes had a passion for art and creativity from an early age. While earning her civil engineering degree from Baghdad Iraq, other artists inspired her to pursue that passion. Agnes left Iraq with her brother and soon settled in New Zealand. She works in multimedia, demonstrating extensive experience in oil, acrylic, chalk pastel, and palette knife painting. Agnes has had several solo exhibitions, and has received awards in international art competitions, including the ACF Fine Arts Competition. In 2006 she created and exhibited art with a group of women; together they established a collective group to support mothers as artists. Today, she is chairwoman for Shiloh creative life center, and principal at the Assyrian cultural house, an Assyrian language school in Auckland. Since 2014, the focus of Agnes’ artwork has shifted to reconnecting the mind and soul to our ancestors through ancient Assyrian knowledge. She hopes to reveal her findings through creating artwork, as she connects the dots between the past and today’s awakening.

Ninos Chammo


Ninos Chammo was born in Lebanon, and he grew up living among the rich culture and history of Italy. At age 16, he started his apprenticeship in Florence. There Chammo first learned the skills of sculpting, painting, and designing. For over seven years he has mastered his trade in several schools, ateliers, and artisan shops. He is currently working in New York City. In his own words: “I was chosen by art. It’s not what I do – it’s who I am.”

Nenous T. Mikhael

Facebook Page: Sculptor Nenous Thabet

Nenous T. Mikhael is an emerging sculptor and talented artist with years of experience working on huge sculptures, paintings, and drawing projects on street walls. He is an art educator for children in national, and international organizations and NGOs. He is one of the finest artists and has been part of art competitions, like Mosul College Fine Art Competition and national level competitions like Shabab Tok. He represents Mosul College in many Iraqi competitions

Paul Hormis


Born in Chicago, IL, Paul Hormis is an Emmy Award-Winning Visual Effects Artist whose 35-year career has spanned across multiple industries: Film, Game, and Television. Starting in 3d in 1987 Paul was self-taught.  With a love of computers, programming, and animation he focused his sights on working in the Film Industry. As a technical artist one sees the world through various prisms. As a Rigger, you see how bodies move, how limbs and muscles work. As a Particle artist, you see how liquids flow (fire, water, smoke, clouds). As a Simulation artist, you see how cloth moves, how things break, physics. Paul is currently a Senior/Lead 3ds Max Pipeline developer at Scanline VFX.

Nahrin Malki


Born in Syria, Nahrin Malki has contributed to her art motifs with a strong classical background.  This has also influenced the central theme of her work: suffering. Suffering does not discriminate and this is shown through her personal experiences of grief, images of the downtrodden and human rights violations throughout her art.  She studied at the AKI Kunstacademie in Enschede and graduated in 2011.  Since then, she has used different techniques within her artistic methodology of traditional and progressive stamping, and manual graphic printing, to achieve the unique organic identity of her artwork

Atra Givarkes

Instagram: @atra.givarkes

Born in Urmia, Atra Givarkes is currently based in California. After graduating from high school, Atra attended Tabriz Azad University in Iran, studying graphic design. One year into her education, she relocated to the United States and continued her studies at Modesto Junior College, completing an Associate Degree in Fine Arts. She then transferred to the University of California San Diego, obtaining a Bachelor's Degree in Visual Arts in 2016. While attending college, she worked as a volunteer curator for the university’s art gallery, and participated in many student exhibitions. Her pieces and drawings are comprised of calligraphic compositions that reflect both her memories and her identity as an Assyrian.

Hannibal Alkhas

Facebook: Hanibal Alkhas Fanpage

Hannibal Alkhas was a famous Assyrian sculptor and painter. He was born in Iran in 1930, and moved to the United States in 1951 in pursuit of a higher education. He later earned a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Alkhas’ work was influenced by the ancient reliefs and stone sculptures of ancient Assyria. He developed a unique style of painting that merged the past, the present, and the future. He sought to capture human emotions in his work, and themes of love and hate, victory and defeat, war and peace, and hope and despair were common in his paintings. 

Issa Benyamin


Known as “the father of Assyrian calligraphy,” Issa Benyamin had a deep love for the Assyrian language. At age seventeen, he developed an appreciation for the art of calligraphy and began studying it under the tutelage of Archbishop Havil Zaya.

Benyamin spent much of his life creating beautiful paintings that brought life to an ancient language. Throughout the course of his career, he created hundreds of pieces unlike any others in the world. He is also credited with the development of fifty-two Assyrian fonts that are used in various programs.

Benyamin passed away on January 20, 2014, but he is survived by his magnificent works.

Maher Minyanish

Instagram: @minyanish

Born in Mosul, Iraq, Maher Minyanish is an Assyrian artist working in the Chicago area. He resettled in the United States in 2009. Though he left his homeland behind due to war, he carried his love and passion for his heritage with him. Minyanish feels obligated to create pieces that represent Assyrian history and heritage—a common theme in much of his work.

A self-taught artist, Minyanish discovered his passion for art as a child and draws inspiration from the changing world around him. He is inspired by human experiences and stories, and is known for his portrait work.

John Malk

Facebook: John Malk Art

John Malk is an Assyrian artist known for his realistic sketches and portraits. Using graphite pencils and charcoal, Malk has been drawing powerful pieces for years. A native to Syria, Malk’s work is inspired by people from ancient Assyria to modern Syria.

He studied art in Damascus, later continuing his education in Poland. In 1992, he resettled in Chicago where he continues to create magnificent pieces, capturing the Assyrian spirit in many of his works. His attention to detail brings his portraits to life.

Younan Shiba

Facebook: Facebook Page

Younan Shiba is an Assyrian-American artist and pastor. He works through various mediums, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and graphic design. He is currently enrolled in the Fine Arts program at Oakton Community College in Illinois, after completing his studies in Graphic and Web Design at ORT Technical Institute.

Shiba has a permanent outdoor carved stone sculpture located on the ORT campus in Skokie, Illinois.

Rabel Betshmuel


Rabel Betshmuel is an artist living and working in Chicago. Rabel graduated Loyola University with a degree in visual communication and studio art. He creates artwork linking his life experiences with historical references. Experimentation throughout his work leads to the embrace of mistake and unexpected outcomes.

He works in a variety of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, and assemblage.

Joseph Badelpour

Website: Circle Studio

Joseph Badalpour began as a painter, graduating from the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he studied fine arts, figure drawing, and portraiture. In the course of his studies, he developed a passion for working with glass.

In 1975, he founded Circle Studio, Inc. and has since devoted his talent to creating unique pieces of stained glass, and has crafted stunning windows and three-dimensional projects ranging from naturalistic and representational to abstract and interpretive.

Joseph Badalpour is often called to create stained glass windows for a variety of churches in Chicago and abroad. Many times he has drawn upon his talent for portraits to complete these projects. Joseph currently serves as the Director of the ACF Fine Arts Program.

Larsa Kena

Instagram: @larsakena

Larsa Kena is an Assyrian artist from Chicago, Illinois. At 18 years of age, Kena has committed herself to a life and career in the arts. She looks to pursue artistic studies as she continues her education. Kena is diversely influenced, and enjoys experimenting with different styles of artwork. She strives to illuminate the emotion behind each piece to evoke a reaction from the viewer. Kena is often inspired by Assyrian traditions and artistry, and brings a modern twist to iconic Assyrian pieces.

Natalie Miraziz


Instagram: @Sheernatattack

Natalie Miraziz is an Assyrian-American artist based in California. She earned a BFA at CSU, Stanislaus and has been awarded several grants throughout her education. Natalie’s art at its foundation focuses on the abstraction of the human figure to create loose and fluid imagery. Her content ranges from expressing her deepest emotions in ways words cannot to representing generational trauma inspired by her family’s personal stories and Assyrian heritage. Natalie works digitally and traditionally; finding inspiration in ancient Assyrian imagery, video games, films, life, and the natural world. 

Stephanos Shino


Stephanos grew up in an Assyrian household in a foreign country (Canada). The language barrier caused some difficulty when it came to schoolwork, but he was always attracted to art for its simplicity in expression, primarily comic books and portraits. He studied at Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Animation program at a later age, which opened him up to the entertainment industry, and has since worked as a 2D Animator, Storyboard Artist and 2D Character Designer on a variety of shows. His latest work will be seen on the streaming services Disney+ and HBO Max.  


Instagram: @noorabadeen

Noora Badeen is an Assyrian artist native to Baghdad, Iraq. She moved to the United States in 2012, and is currently studying the Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Badeen views art as a way to raise awareness about human suffering and promote social justice for all people of the world. Her work primarily focuses on marginalized women and children in the Middle East and the challenges they face trying to navigate life in conflict-affected areas. She believes in her ability to give them a voice through her pieces. As a student, she is exploring all facets of multimedia, including painting, drawing, and sculpture.

Esther Elia


Instagram: @malikta.esther   

Esther Elia is a mixed Assyrian-Irish artist from Turlock, California, currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her work is a mix of sculptural furniture pieces, clothing, and large-scale acrylic paintings that use family folklore as the basis for understanding mixed ethnicity and the question of how to be Assyrian in diaspora. Elia describes her work as “Combining the new with the old, my diasporic environment showing up and taking shape in my ancient psyche.”