Nabil Nahas, Phoenix Dactylifera, Ben Brown Fine Arts, London

The 16 October hosts the opening of Nabil Nahas’ new exhibition in London. The title of the exhibit, Phoenix Dactylifera, derives from the artist’s heritage and is the name of the native Date Palm tree from the Middle East. As one of Lebanon’s most significant contemporary artists, Nahas will be the most noteworthy and first to exhibit in the UK to date.

Although currently living and working in New York, Nahas spends a lot of time back in his native home Lebanon, which clearly transpires through his artwork. The collection presents a landscape reflection of Nahas’ childhood, with redolent colours of golds, ochre and Mediterranean sky blues.

Nahas’ images skilfully juxtapose elements of landscape and portraiture, highlighting nature is the subject of the portrait, and the scenery incorporates ideas of surrealism and abstraction. Symbolic features of the Middle East are appreciated in the paintings, from cacti to cedar, olive and palm trees.

Trees are a notable reoccurring theme in Nahas’ work and it is thought to have originated from his youth in Lebanon, where he experienced a rich and natural beauty in his surroundings. The work, which has been created especially for this exhibition, defines Nahas’ command for colour and manipulation of surface and texture, which he is renowned for. He has enabled his artwork to form a strong connection to his past and heritage, and has been able to create links between the East and West, bridging two worlds of culture, which are the focus of increasing attention in today’s climate.

Phoenix Dactylifera by Nabil Nahas at Ben Brown Fine Arts 52 Brook’s Mews, London W1K. Running 13 October to 14 November.

1. Nabil Nahas (b. 1949) Untitled, 2014 Acrylic on canvas 152.4 x 243.8 cm; (60 x 96 in.)