Born in Damascus, Syria in 1938, Nazir Nabaa studied photography in Cairo between 1959 and 1964 and then Paris between 1971 and 1974. During his photography studies, he was honing his distinctive talent as a painter. Ranging from fantastical depictions of mythological women, to abstracted portraiture, and still life, Nabaa’s diverse oeuvre tows the line between the invented and the real, depicting enchanting, demure figures with an arresting element of foreignness. Nabaa’s painterly dexterity allows him to create canvases rich with movement that integrate unexpected details – for instance, his imagined women’s hair and drapery compositionally serve as a horizon or landscape, while his abstracted canvases couple geometric and Cubist references with a grainier handling of the medium, allowing the oil on canvas to appear rustic.
Nabaa has exhibited widely in Syria, including at the Modern Art Gallery, Al Sewan Gallery and the Arab Cultural Center in Damascus. He has also participated in group exhibitions in cities across the world including Aleppo, Cairo, Paris, Bologna, Sao Paulo, Madrid, Moscow and Tokyo.