University of Baghdad
8 Huajiadi S St, WangJing, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing Shi, China
Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing)
Shafiq Irshidat st، Irbid, Jordan
Rafa Nasiri began his art education at the Baghdad Institute of Fine Arts of the University of Baghdad. He graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting.
The young artist received a scholarship which allowed him to pursue the artistic training in Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts in China which he had attended for four years and received the Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking. While studying, Nasiri explored the Chinese art and became its strong admirer.
In a couple of years after his return to Baghdad, Rafa Nasiri travelled to twenty-four Arab and European countries along with his two brothers. During the trip, the artist visited a lot of well-known museums where he discovered Western art. The impressionist style impressed him a lot.
In 1967, Nasiri obtained the Gulbenkian Foundation scholarship due to which he had an opportunity to learn printmaking at the Gravura in Lisbon, Portugal. Two years later, he received the diploma.
While in the country, he got acquainted with the art of the French artist Georges Mathieu who incorporated calligraphy in his artworks. Later, that pushed Nasiri to introduce the Arabic letters into his own canvases.
Later, in 1974, Rafa Nasiri began to attend a one-year training course of the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in Salzburg, Austria.
Rafa Nasiri’s professional career started in Baghdad in the middle of the 1960s when the city was a cultural centre of the Arab world. The artists gathered in various art groups and associations, as Nasiri did. He became an active participant at the development of the pan-Arab modern art movement. So, Nasiri was among the founding members of the Baghdad's New Vision Group aimed to encourage the artists to use the cultural heritage as the main source of inspiration instead of the variety of other sources. In 1971, the artist co-founded the One Dimension Group established by Shakir Hassan Al Said.
One of the first personal shows of Nasiri’s paintings and prints took place in 1963 at the ITU Gallery in Hong Kong, China. Since then, the artist had regularly exhibited his artworks in Iraq, Jordan, China, Germany, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Poland, England, Norway, India, Brazil, France, South Korea, Egypt and Switzerland.
Besides his big involvement in the artistic life, Rafa Nasiri devoted an important part of his life to teaching art. In 1964, he became a teacher at his alma mater, the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad where he had transmitted his art knowledge to the students for twenty-five years. At the tenth year of his service at the institution, he established the Department of Graphic Art.
In 1991, the artist began to read lectures at the Yarmouk University in Jordan. He spent six years at the institution. Then, he occupied the similar post at the University of Bahrain where he had taught till 2003.
In 1993, Nasiri became a director of the Darat al Funun cultural centre in Jordan. He made a great contribution to the development of the centre by founding the art studio, the art courses and various exhibitions during his two-year service.
Rafa Nasiri was also known as the author of many articles and books on such topics as graphic engraving, printmaking, Arabic calligraphy and the history of graphic art. As a lover of the classical and contemporary Arab poetry, he dedicated some art books to many famous Arab poets, including al-Mutannabi and Mahmoud Darwish.
Rafa Nasiri was married to the poet and art critic May Muzaffar.