Ranging from depictions of Arab women to abstracted portraiture, still lifes and political posters, Nazir Nabaa’s diverse oeuvre is precise in details and textures. A celebrated professor and artist, the thread that unites his paintings is the research that he commits to each one. Alongside that rigour lay his philosophy: “I search for one thing, besides artistic research, I search for the soul.”
Born in Damascus, Nazir Nabaa (1939–2016) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cairo in 1965. During his studies in Egypt, he met his wife Shalabiya Ibrahim, also an artist. Later, he received another degree from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1974. He was a professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus and he was bestowed the National Garter for his work in 2006.
Using vibrant colours, Nabaa’s best-known works portray women amid rich Oriental backdrops as a representation of homeland and history, wherein these archetypical depictions of woman are used as symbols of nationalism. As regional conflicts heightened, the subject of his work began to shift to political themes such as the Palestinian crisis, Lebanese civil war and the American invasion of Iraq.
Nabaa has shown his work at museums such as the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts and has won the Judges Panel award at the Biennials of Alexandria and Cairo. His work has been acquired by institutions such as the Jalanbo Collection, Barjeel Art Foundation and Dalloul Art Foundation.