|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
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compared to the extensive information about American artists.|
Born in Damascus, Syria in 1948, Nazir Ismail creates highly expressionist compositions which range from portraits of disfigured
figures that are as otherworldly as they are mysterious to semi-romanticized landscapes. Having trained
privately, he began exhibiting in public venues in Damascus in 1966, joining a group of Syrian artists that would
initiate the transition from the modern period of art to the adoption of contemporary modes of representation
that took concurrent global trends into consideration.
During this time, like a number of his colleagues, he
employed a symbolist approach to painting that often found inspiration in traditional Syrian art forms. In 1971
he was given his first solo exhibition at the Arabic Cultural Centre in Damascus.
Since then, he has held nearly fifty solo exhibitions throughout the Arab world, developing a collector’s
based that includes a number of public institutions such as the Syrian Ministries of Tourism and Culture, the
People’s Palace and National Museum in Damascus, the Omani Royal Museum and the Museum of Modern
Arab Art Qatar.
An accomplished artist, he has been honored with a number of awards, such as third prize
from the Sharjah Biennial in 1996. That same year, the Goethe Institute of Damascus organized a thirty-year
retrospective, which highlighted his rich and varied career and was received with great acclaim. His importance
continues to be recognized within the regional art scene, as he was recently featured in a Christie’s Dubai sale
of modern and contemporary art international.
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