Youssef Nabil

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Youssef Nabil
Youssef Nabil.jpg
Youssef Nabil
Born (1972-11-06) November 6, 1972 (age 46)

Youssef Nabil (born 6 November 1972) is an Egyptian artist and photographer.


Born in Cairo, Egypt, Nabil started his photography career in 1992, shortly before meeting the American photographer David LaChapelle in Cairo, with whom he worked in New York in 1993.[1] In 1997, Nabil worked in Paris with the Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino till late 1998.[2] In 1999, Youssef Nabil had his first solo exhibition in Cairo. Through the years he remained a close friend with the Egyptian-Armenian studio portrait photographer Van Leo (Leon Boyadjian, 1921–2001), who encouraged Nabil to leave to the West. In 2003, Youssef Nabil was awarded the Seydou Keita Prize in the Biennial of African Photography in Bamako.

In 2001, while visiting Cairo, British artist Tracey Emin discovered Nabil's work and later nominated him as a future top artist in Harper's article Tomorrow People. Nabil left Egypt in 2003[1] for an artist residency at La Cité internationale des Arts in Paris. In 2006, he moved to live and work in New York.

Many have been subject to Nabil's lens and distinctive technique of hand-colouring gelatin silver prints, including artists Tracey Emin, Gilbert and George, Nan Goldin, Marina Abramović,[3] Louise Bourgeois, and Shirin Neshat; singers Alicia Keys,[3] Sting, and Natacha Atlas; actors Omar Sharif, Faten Hamama, Rossy de Palma,[4] Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert,[3] and Catherine Deneuve.[3]

In 2010, Nabil wrote, produced and directed his first film You Never Left,[1] an 8-minute short film with actors Fanny Ardant and Tahar Rahim.

Nabil's work has been presented on numerous international solo and group exhibitions, at venues including the British Museum, London; Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle; Centre de Cultura Contemporánea de Barcelona; Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris; Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah; Kunstmuseum, Bonn; The Third Line, Dubai;[3] The Townhouse gallery, Cairo; Galerist, Istanbul; Marco Noire gallery, Turin; Nathalie Obadia gallery, Paris; Yossi Milo gallery, New York; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla; Aperture Foundation, New York and Villa Medici, Rome.

Nabil lives and works in New York City.


Selected exhibitions[edit]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2017 – I Saved My Belly Dancer, Pérez Art Museum Miami PAMM.
  • 2013 – Time of Transformation, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai. U.A.E.
  • 2012 – Youssef Nabil, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France.
  • 2011 – You Never Left, Nathalie Obadia Gallery, Paris, France.
  • 2010 – Youssef Nabil, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, U.S.A.
  • 2010 – I Live Within You, Savannah College of Art and Design-SCAD, Savannah, U.S.A.
  • 2009 – Youssef Nabil, GALERIST, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 2009 – I Live Within You, Savannah College of Art and Design-SCAD, Atlanta, U.S.A.
  • 2009 – I Won't Let you Die, Villa Medici, Rome, Italy.
  • 2009 – I Will Go to Paradise, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E.
  • 2009 – Youssef Nabil, Volker Diehl Gallery, Berlin, Germany.
  • 2008 – CINEMA, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2007 – Sleep in my arms, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2007 – Portraits / Self-portraits, The Third Line Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E.
  • 2005 – Realities to Dreams, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt.
  • 2003 – Pour un Moment d'Éternité, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles, France.
  • 2001 – Obsesiones, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico.
  • 2001 – Youssef Nabil, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1999 – Premiere, Cairo-Berlin Art Gallery, Cairo, Egypt.

Group exhibitions[edit]

  • 2014 - The Divine Comedy. Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists -Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), Frankfurt/Main
  • 2013 – Sous Influences, Arts Plastiques et Psychotropes, La Maison Rouge, Paris, France.
  • 2013 – Ici, Ailleurs, Friche la Belle de Mai, Marseille, France.
  • 2012 – Light from the Middle East: New Photography, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, U.K.
  • 2012 – The Royal Academy of Arts Encounter, Cultural Village Foundation Katara, Doha, Qatar.
  • 2012 – Tea with Nefertiti, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar.
  • 2012 – Edouard et Cléopâtre, Egyptomanies depuis le XIXe siècle, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 2012 – Pose/Re-Pose: Figurative Works Then and Now, SCAD Museum of Art. Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
  • 2011 – Facing Mirrors, Museum of Photography, Thessaloniki, Greece.
  • 2011 – Of Women’s Modesty and Anger, Boghossian Foundation, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 2010 – Told, Untold, Retold, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar.
  • 2010 – Portraits, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, Belgium.
  • 2009 – Unconditional Love, The Venice Biennale – 53rd International Art Exhibition, Venice, Italy.
  • 2009 – ARABESQUE, Arts of The Arab World, The Kennedy Center, Washington DC, U.S.A.
  • 2008 – Far From Home, North Carolina Museum of Art NCMA, North Carolina, U.S.A.
  • 2008 – Portraits II, Galeria Leme, São Paulo, Brazil.
  • 2008 – Last of the Dictionary Men, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, U.K.
  • 2008 – Disguise, Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2008 – Regards des Photographes Arabes Contemporains, Musée National d'Art Moderne et Contemporain MNAMC, Alger, Algeria.
  • 2008 – Perfect Lovers, Art Extra, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • 2007 – Gegenwart aus Jahrtausenden, Zeitgenössische Kunst aus Ägypten, Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany.
  • 2007 – Dialogues Méditerranéens, Saint-Tropez, France.
  • 2006 – Arabiske Blikke, GL Strand Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2006 – Word into Art, The British Museum, London, U.K.
  • 2006 – Images of the Middle East, Danish Center for Culture and Development, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2006 – 19 miradas. Fotógrafos árabes contemporáneos, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain.
  • 2005 – Regards des Photographes Arabes Contemporains, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France.
  • 2005 – Nazar, Photographs from the Arab World, The Aperture Foundation Gallery, New York, U.S.A.
  • 2005 – L'Égypte, Saline Royale d'Arc et Senans, France.
  • 2005 – Arab Eyes, FotoFest Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
  • 2004 – Nazar: Noorderlicht, The Fries Museum, Leeuwaarden, The Netherlands.
  • 2004 – Rites sacrés, Rites profanes: Zeitgenossiche Afrikanische Fotographie, Kornhausforum, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 2004 – Staged Realities: Exposing the Soul in African Photography 1870–2004, Michael Stevenson Contemporary Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 2004 – Bamako 03: Contemporary African Photography, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona MACBA, Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2003 – Rites sacrés, Rites profanes, Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, Bamako, Mali.


  • Nabil, Youssef (2007). Sleep in My Arms. London: Autograph ABP.
  • Nabil, Youssef (2007). Sleep in My Arms. Cape Town: Michael Stevenson.
  • Nabil, Youssef; Zaya, Octavio (2008). I Won't Let You Die. Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag. ISBN 9783775723060.
  • Nabil, Youssef (2013). Youssef Nabil. France: Flammarion. ISBN 9782081301115.


External links[edit]