Self-Portrait with an Olive Tree, Kéa 2016


Archival pigment ink on archival cotton-rag paper

50 x 75 cm

In Self-Portrait With An Olive Tree, Kéa 2016, the artist's languid silhouette finds refuge under the outspread branches of an olive tree. Dressed in a white djellaba, his back turned to the viewer, he seems to be in a deep sleep. The irrational pastel atmosphere - achieved by using a hand-colouring technique - gives the scene a dreamlike dimension.

Self-portraiture is intertwined with the experience of exile in Youssef Nabil's work. In 2003, the Egyptian photographer left his country to live freely from his art. Since then he has depicted himself walking alone, standing, reclining or facing quiet landscapes that vary depending on his travels, such as this olive grove in Greece.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, Self-Portrait With An Olive Tree, Kéa 2016 is being presented for the first time at Nabil's 2020 solo show “Once Upon A Dream” at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.