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Nazir Ismail was born in Damascus in 1948 and throughout his artistic career, he has taken part in over 60 exhibitions. His colourful oil paintings capture human figures and roosters in warm, earthy colours, while his watercolour-on-paper works capture the realities of modern Syria. Ismail reflects the environment that he sees around him, exploring themes of loss, confusion, bitterness and anxiety that imbue his work with a psychological depth. Through the distorted portraits of his subjects – some faceless, others marked with a melancholic expression – the viewer is made to feel complicit in their suffering. In his words, he seeks to “work in an expressive manner, trying to transmit the emotional and psychological state through colour and lines, and the general vibe of the art.” He has won numerous prizes including third prize at the exhibition for Young Artists in Damascus in 1971, the Graphic Prize in Berlin in 1980 and the third prize in the Sharjah Biennial in 1996. His work has been exhibited at several institutions and galleries, including museums and ministries in Damascus, as well as private collections. Nazir Ismail passed away in 2016.