100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40
Hisham Samawi

Hisham Samawi

Industry: Arts and entertainment

Company: Ayyam Gallery

Designation: Co-founder

Country: UAE (Syria)

Country of origin: @HishamSamawi

Age: 37

Hisham Samawi spent his first two years in Dubai working in business development and strategy for Tatweer, a member of Dubai Holdings. In 2008, he recognised an opportunity to develop the art scene in the region and left Tatweer to partner with his cousin, Khaled Samawi, to establish Ayyam Gallery, one of the region’s leading art institutions. Opening their first space in Damascus, the gallery has grown steadily over the years to include two spaces in Dubai, one in Beirut and its latest on New Bond Street in London.

Ayyam Gallery now represents many of the leading artists from around the Arab world and Iran. In addition to hosting exhibitions, the gallery holds a series of auctions called The Young Collectors Auction, and has a publishing house that produces a wide range of artists’ books and catalogs.

Recognising another opportunity and gap in the regional landscape in 2014, Samawi brought over the famous New York restaurant Clinton Street Baking Company and opened its first location in the region at Burj Views in Downtown Dubai. His first endeavour into the food and beverage industry, the restaurant has quickly established itself as Dubai’s go-to place for all-day breakfast and high quality casual dining. Having signed the master franchise for the MENA region Samawi is looking to grow and develop the brand.