Nizar Sabour was born in Lattakia, Syria in 1958. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University in 1981 and obtained his PhD from Moscow University in The Philosophy of Art in 1990.
Sabour’s work tends to have religious undertones, focusing on the artist’s fascination with religious imagery and icons, whether Christian, Islamic or pagan. His images tend to appear worn and archaic, utilizing
‘traditional’ elements such as triptychs, carved wood, flattened perspective, verticality and gold leaf.
However, he treats these elements in a very non-traditional manner, purposefully and successfully counterbalancing any
religiosity by employing colours and a technique that is more reminiscent of Dada collages than the precision of religious iconography. His later work is even more diverse, employing similar techniques but moving away from any particular theme.
Generally larger scale and even at times covering entire walls, Sabour’s more recent work also features more primordial objects and Islamic architectural motifs, as well as ash as a medium. Nizar’s employment of ash, a material often associated with death and decay, suggests his desire to render work inherent of a sense of fragility, agedness and spirituality.
Nizar Sabour received an award of recognition at the 2nd Sharjah International Art Biennal in 1995.
In 2004, he was awarded the first prize in painting at the International Art Symposium in Dubai. His work can be seen at
the Museum of Eastern Culture (Moscow, Russia), Gallery Oscar (Washington D.C., USA), The Ministry of Culture (Damascus, Syria), Bahrain National Museum, (Manama, Bahrain) and The Jordanian Royal Museum
A word from Nizar
Memories Of Cities 2017
For many years gone by, the idea of the ‘Eastern City’ has always been my preferred subject in my artistic work, with its varied visual expression and manifestations without words.
Today, this once ‘Dreamy, Innocent and Peaceful’ city is but a memory.
Nizar Sabour By Dr. Asaad Arabi - Contemporary Art in Syria - Bremen 2019
Born 1958 in Lattakia. Perhaps he is the best known avant-garde Sufi Expressionist in the Syrian art scene. His academic studies in Moscow gave him the opportunity to get to know the ritual atmosphere of the Orthodox churches. He was inspired by art in monasteries, by icons. Sabour's fund of folkloristic themes is very large. He draws metaphorical borrowings from the heritage of glass painting and from the life stories of knights and heroes of popular legends and sagas. His mythological archive seems to be inexhaustible, using "postmodern" means and methods: pasted pieces of wood on textile tableaux, the reuse of woodworking in mirror wings or the architectural-futuristic furnishing of prayer niches and altars. The exhibited works show how he mixes lifeless materials such as sand, soot-enriched earth and ash (symbol of death) in a complex way. His symbolic works realized with this mixed technique represent the central theme of the current catastrophe, which deserves the title: "The living ash" i.e. "The living death".
A word from Nizar
Contemporary Art in Syria - Bremen 2019
"Art is not an amusing pastime, it's an attitude to life."
"The work "Watermelon": This fruit is popular in the East. This is reflected in the colour atmosphere of the painting presenting this fruit in an oriental way, as well as in the frame surrounding the open motif, reminiscent of oriental carpets and mosaics from the region.
The work "Olive Bowl": Given the current Syrian events, I was looking for a topic that unites the Syrians: The olive tree, this sacred tree. Its history in the East goes back thousands of years, and the olive plate is on the table of all Syrians, the rich and the poor of all religions, cultures and nationalities! The work "Maaloula": The city that is famous for its proximity to the mountains, for its language that is still alive today. The language of Jesus Christ. Maaloula's history goes back almost ten thousand years and during these long centuries it remained unharmed... until 2014."