Nael Hanna Biography

Nael Hanna


Born 1959 in Nineva, Northern Iraq, of mixed culture – Iraqui, Greek and Syrian Christian Orthodox, Nael spent much of his childhood studying and drawing animals, birds and people.  At the age of nineteen, he entered college before being drafted into the Army to serve during the Iraq-Iran War.

Whilst in military service, Nael continued to paint and was awarded a scholarship by the Ministry of Education, Bagdad, to study art in Britain.  In 1983, he undertook art and language courses in Southampton before being awarded a scholarship to study Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee.

In 1987, Nael won a further scholarship to study at Hospitalfield Summer School, Arbroath, and it was during this time that he developed his great passion for the East coast of Scotland particularly the Angus and Kincardinshire coastline, with its dramatic scenery and ever changing weather.

Upon graduating with First Class Honours in 1989, Nael studied in Florence, having been awarded The Royal Scottish Academy John Kinross Scholarship, before returning to the rural Angus countryside where he made his home.


Nael initially lectured and taught whilst continuing to develop his own distinctive work.  He has won a number of awards including the 1996 Zonta International Prize and exhibited in many countries including Malaysia. Egypt and the USA.  He is a regular exhibitor at the RGI, RSA, SSA, SSAC and with prominent galleries throughout the UK.  His works are included within major Public and Private Collections worldwide.

Today, Nael devotes his time fully to painting and continues to be inspired by his deep love of nature, and his fascination with the elements so dramatically displayed within the Scottish landscape and its coastlines. His works often transcend the immediate depiction of the landscape and embrace the human relationship with the land.  From the people living in these areas- the fisherfolk and their relationship with the sea, and the farmers working the land, Nael is driven to capture the rhythms, atmosphere and textures so unique to this part of the world.

“I am inspired by water, sound and nature, being  fascinated by the changing colours and shapes reflected in the sea, land and sky.  I enjoy looking for the rhythms created in nature and hope to capture the force of the natural elements which dictate so much to the world that we live in.  I spend a great deal of time observing the coastal landscape near my Angus home, and however much at times I feel that I should escape from this recurring subject, I am always willingly drawn back by its sheer beauty and magnetism”.


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