Born 1940, Gaza, Palestine
Laila Shawa studied at the Leonardo School of Art, Cairo, before graduating with a degree in fine art from the Accademia de Belle Arti, Rome, in 1964. From 1960–64, she studied plastic and decorative arts at the Accademia St Giaccomo, Rome, during which she attended additional classes under Italian professor and Expressionist artist Renato Guttuso at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. That summer she studied under Austrian Expressionist, Oskar Kokoschka, at the Oskar Kokoschka School of Seeing in Salzburg, Austria.
Her work comprises oils on canvas, photographs, and silkscreens. She has also designed the stained-glass windows of the Cultural Centre in Gaza. Additionally, Shawa has illustrated books for children, and worked as a lecturer and an art education advisor. She has had a number of solo exhibitions in the Middle East and Europe, and participated in the touring exhibition Dialogues of the Present: The Work of 18 Arab Women Artists, UK, 1999-2000. She lives and works in London.