Nabil Mousa’s practice centers on abstraction through paintings, printmaking and sculpture that combine autobiography, and cultural commentary. His ability to investigate concepts of beauty as a colorist is inspired by traditional Arab culture. Influences of calligraphy and qualities of arabesque design, religious text, and architecture merge with Modernist elements, gestural abstraction, and Minimalism.
Mousa is a Syrian American, a gay man, and an activist in the LGBTQI community. His work draws on his background, his influences from various Middle Eastern traditions, and his struggle for recognition and acceptance after coming out to his traditionally conservative family. Out of these unique combinations of personal and cultural influences, he has developed a vocabulary of symbols, colors, and gestural mark-making that he uses to reflect upon this present imperfect moment. He continues to mine his personal story, resulting in a multidisciplinary practice that has evolved in the decade since his first course work at the University of Tennessee.
Nabil Mousa’s work explores concepts of balance and harmony. Inspired by the struggles and daily small victories of the Syrian people living through civil war, his work is a celebration of perseverance and joy over despair and destruction. The inspiration of Arabic design reverberates throughout his work, most noticeably in the interplay of floral and calligraphic scheme.