Arif Al-Nomay was born in Ibb, Yemen in 1970. He enrolled in school at the age of twelve when the first school in his area opened. He moved to Abha in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the end of 1989, where he worked in a photography studio. During this period, he became friends with a group of artists who had formed a radical collective at Abha’s Al Meftaha Arts Village. That artists' collective, which called itself Shatta ‘to be broken apart’, included Ahmed Mater, Ashraf Fayadh, and Abdulnasser Gharem, that established a movement that changed the Saudi art scene forever.