Who was Ousha Al Suwaidi, the Emirati poet honoured by a Google Doodle?

Abu Dhabi designer Reem Al Mazrouei worked on the search engine's illustration

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Emirati poet Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi, or Ousha the Poet, was honoured by Google on Monday with a dedicated Doodle.

One of the greatest Nabati poets of the 20th century, Al Suwaidi was recognised on this day in 2011 for her contributions to literature.

At the event, other established writers and poets recited Al Suwaidi's works in her honour and founded an annual award for female Emirati poets in her name.

A library at the Emirates International School and a section of the Women's Museum in Dubai, were also dedicated in her honour.

Abu Dhabi artist Reem Al Mazrouei created Monday's Google Doodle.

Her illustration of Al Suwaidi is ethereal, as her hijab floats in the wind, encircled by doves and swirling clouds.

There are three earlier drafts of Al Mazrouei's sketches to see on the description page, too.

It can be seen on Google across the Arab world.

Who was Ousha Al Suwaidi?

Al Suwaidi was born on January 1, 1920, in Al Ain.

She was fondly nicknamed by all who knew, loved and admired her Fatat Al Khaleej, the Girl of the Gulf and later Fatat Al Arab — Girl of the Arabs.

She also gained the nickname Gulf Laureate Poet, as she wrote so many poems in such a short period of time, according to Abu Dhabi Awards.

Her family loved literature and so she was surrounded by poetry from an early age. At 15, she won national recognition for her poetry recitals, opening doors for women in a then male-dominated field.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, OCTOBER 21, 2014. Poetry by Ousha Bint Khalifa at the Women's Museum in Deira also called the Bait Al Banat.  (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Melanie Swan. Section: National.

Her works even inspired the poetry of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, as he honoured her in 1989 with his first published collection where he coined her nickname, Fatat Al Arab.

Her work, written in Nabati vernacular style, explored themes such as love, wisdom, patriotism and nostalgia, and the desert landscapes of the Arabian Gulf inspired her. She touched on her experiences in the UAE, as well as the country's culture and history.

She was also inspired by classical poetry by the likes of Al Mutanabbi, Abu Tammam and Al Ma'arri, as well as the work of local poets such as Al Majidi bin Thahir, Rashid Al Khalawi, Saleem bin Abdul Hai and Mohsin Hazzani.

Al Suwaidi died in July 2018 aged 98, leaving behind a lasting legacy that has lived on through songs and poems by other popular singers and poets, as they are inspired by her work even today.

When she died, Sheikh Mohammed led tributes mourning her death.

“Our country lost a great symbol of literature, wisdom and poetry. Ousha bint Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Fatat Al Arab,” he wrote on Twitter.

“May Allah have mercy on her and rest her soul in Paradise and grant patience and solace to her family and us,” he said.

“Fatat Al Arab has left behind treasures of literature and poetry which will continue to tell her biography and she will always be remembered.”

Google pays homage to the Mena region

The search engine often pays tribute to famous figures across the Mena region.

Earlier this month, it honoured Egyptian scientist and marine biologist Hamed Gohar, who was known by a whole generation of Arabs as the host of Sea World, a TV show he fronted for more than 18 years.

Last month, it celebrated the life of Moroccan singer Haja El Hamdaouia, who influenced generations of artists with her innovative style of Moroccan chaabi music.

Earlier, it marked what would have been Egyptian historian Mostafa Abdel-Hamid El Abbadi's 94th birthday.

Scroll through the gallery below to see other regional Google Doodles over the past few years

Updated: November 28, 2022, 4:24 AM