‘Looking at my paintings, you can see shapes, colour – vibrant or subtle, mellow or harsh – but in my own way the way I want to present them. My paintings may not be easy to read, you may need a longer time to be with them, to live with them, communicate with them. The paintings are like meeting a new partner – you have got to live with them to understand them first, then decide if you are in love or not.’
Born in Nineveh, Northern Iraq, of mixed culture – Greek and Syrian Christian Orthodox. From an early age Nael was interested in art and spent much of his childhood studying and drawing animals, birds and people. At the age of nineteen, Nael went to college where he worked for a Diploma in Petroleum Studies, at the end of which time he was drafted into the Army to serve during the Iran-Iraq War.
Throughout his army service he continued to paint and was awarded a scholarship by the Ministry of Education, Baghdad, to study art in Britain. In 1983 He commenced a language course and foundation art course in Southampton, before being accepted to study for a degree in Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee.
In the summer of 1987 Nael won a further scholarship to study art at Hospitalfield in Arbroath and it was during this time that he developed his great passion for the East Coast of Scotland – with its dramatic scenery and ever-changing weather.
Upon graduating in 1989 Nael travelled to Florence on a three-month scholarship study tour awarded by the Royal Scottish Academy (John Kinross Scholarship). This tour inspired Nael to complete his MPhil in Art and Design in Dundee.
These years of study saw Nael winning art awards within Scotland, and in 1990 he was invited to have a solo show in Copenhagen, Denmark.
On graduating, Nael was employed as a lecturer (part-time) in the Fine Art department of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee. In the following year, Nael took up a full-time position as Artist in Residence at Anton House day Centre, Broughty Ferry – a charitable organisation providing day care services to adults with physical disabilities.
Nael has continued to develop his own art work, and in 1992 won First Prize in the Dundee 800 art competition, McManus Gallery, Dundee, then in 1996 was awarded the Zonta International Prize, Aberdeen Arts Society. Nael’s work has also been exhibited and collected in many countries overseas, including Malaysia, America and Egypt. Apart from the current show at Stenton, solo shows have also taken place in the Seagate Gallery, Dundee, and Queens Road Gallery, Aberdeen. Nael is a regular exhibitor at the RGI, RSA, SSA and SAAC.
Nael’s work is immediately recognisable for its unique and distinctive style. he has continued to promote his love for nature, and in particular the rugged Scottish landscape and seascape.