Born in Amman, Jordan, in 1938, Muhanna Al Durra is a pioneer Jordanian painter and the first to introduce Cubism and abstract art into the Jordanian visual arts.
Al Durra, who currently teaches at UJ's School of Arts and Design, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, Italy, in 1958, to become the first Jordanian to receive a formal art education. After graduating in 1958, he returned to Amman to teach history of art at the Teachers' Training College. Between 1960 and 1970, he returned to Rome, where he held many exhibitions, in addition to also exhibiting in Florence, U.S.S.R., and many Arab countries.
Muhanna was decorated knight of the Holy order of San Silvestro by His Holiness Pope Paul VI. In 1970 he returned to Jordan, to receive the Kawkab Decoration from his Majesty King Hussein of Jordan.
He helped establish Jordan’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1970-80, and was appointed its director; also he was appointed Director General of the Department of Culture and Art in 1977.
Al Durra received the first State Appreciation Award in 1977 for his contribution to the cultural development of Jordan, the Golden Medal of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 1978, the Golden Pioneer Medal of the Union of Arab Artists in 1980, the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity in 2006, and the Distinction of Al-Hussein Decoration from his Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan (First Order) in 2008.
He was invited to be a Guest Professor at Salzburg Seminar for American Studies. At that time, he sustained his artistic production, painting and exhibiting in the the U.S.A and the Arab world.
As a former ambassador of the league of Arab states, he lived in many world capitals around the region, including Tunis, Rome, Cairo, and Moscow, in addition to Amman.