Nabil Anani

Nabil Anani

Renowned painter, ceramicist and sculptor Nabil Anani was born in 1943 in Latroun, Palestine, land that now sits right on the 1949 Armistice Border also known as The Green Line and exists today as a depopulated Palestinian village.

A graduate of Alexandria University, Egypt, with a degree in Fine Art, Nabil has taught art at the UN college in Ramallah and was also instrumental in establishing the Contemporary Palestinian Art Movement, the League of Palestinian Artists and the first International Academy of Fine Art in Palestine. He continues to live and work in Ramallah, constantly expanding his catalogue of unique and innovative artworks which already spans an impressive four decades.

Nabil Anani - Artist & Teacher

Nabil's lifetime, artistic development, career and body of work span a colourful period in Palestinian history which has seen, amongst many other happenings, the Nakba of 1948 and the six-day war of 1967. These impactful events have naturally made a mark on the people, land and culture of Palestine and it is through his artistic expression, specifically pioneering the use of local media including leather, wood, copper, henna and natural dyes, that Nabil tells a moving story of his land and people.

When asked about his eclectic work Nabil says,

'I like to change the material, the idea, the subject, everything! It's just my personality.'

Naturally this has led to Nabil being a master craftsman with many different media. He even produced a commissioned piece using steak sauce on leather! When the buyer contacted him to report that her dog had chewed up the artwork, Nabil of course offered to replace the artwork but also quipped,

'Your dog has wonderful taste in art!'

Nabil Anani

Even a short conversation with Nabil reveals his immense passion and enthusiasm not only for artistic expression but for the ability to have a voice through creativity, to express the social and political realities for Palestinian people. Despite the very challenging context in which he lives and works, Nabil can regularly be seen sporting a beaming smile or chortling with delight at the beauty of the natural landscape and how it is captured in art - his exuberance is contagious.

Nabil inspirationally observes,

'Many people would say that the natural landscape is not a political subject but to me it is. All around me the landscape is constantly changing, always appearing are new checkpoints, barriers, walls, settlements. Many times I paint a landscape and in a few years this no longer exists.'

Therefore when you are in possession of a piece of Nabil's artwork - whether in the form of one of our Christmas Cards, Notecards or in the pages of his fascinating book Palestine Land and People, you are holding and appreciating a piece of history and a part of Palestinian culture.

When asked why his work as a Palestinian artist is so important Nabil gives another inspirational response,

'The artist should be like a mirror - reflecting the feeling of the community.'

Examples of the breadth of Nabil's work exhibited at Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah:

Nabil Anani Artwork

Nabil also shares the same love for olive trees that Embrace the Middle East supporters, staff and partners have. Olive trees feature heavily in Nabil's acrylic and oil paintings, not only because they are a dominant feature of the Palestinian hillsides but because of their important symbolism. He reflects,

'The olive tree is a symbol of Palestinian pride - its roots are deep in the land.'

Nabil Anani is a contemporary of Sliman Mansour whose inspirational artwork is also featured on our Christmas Cards and Notecards. They have worked together for many years and both continue to be influential voices in the Palestinian creative arts, not only making bold statements with their own artwork but also encouraging a new generation of young artists to use their creative voice. Here they are pictured together at an exhibition at Zawyeh Gallery, Ramallah. 

Nabil Anani & Sliman Mansour

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