Born in 1941 in the village of Zakariya near Hebron, Nasr Eleyan’s earliest childhood memory is of pencil drawing. He drew the many animals that he saw in the village – birds, cats, sheep, chicken, etc. His family was forced to flee the village after it was occupied by Israeli militias in 1948, and they ended up in Ain al-Sultan Refugee Camp in the Jordan Valley. Nasr, however, continued to draw and experimented with different mediums. Later, he abandoned animals and focused more on women in their daily lives and local dresses – the central theme of most of his paintings. In the late 1950s, he participated in his first exhibit as a teenager where he presented three watercolor paintings that were praised by critics and journalists. Shortly after the exhibit, he discovered oil paint, a medium that he would love and use for the rest of his life.
After he finished high school, Nasr headed to Moscow to study architecture. Unfortunately, his studies were cut short due to unexpected circumstances, so he went to Cairo to pursue a degree in fine arts. During his time there, he participated in many art exhibitions, and his paintings caught the eyes of viewers, journalists, critics, and even the government itself. He won a “possession prize” for many of his paintings, which means that the government purchased the painting, the ultimate hope of every artist in Egypt at the time. After finishing his studies, he continued to exhibit his paintings in various countries.
Nasr’s career was not limited to painting, however. He worked for Jordanian television as a decor designer and directed his own shows. Later on, he moved to Dubai to work for United Arab Emirates television where, as well as being a set designer, he wrote his own shows about theater, costumes, and the history of movies. In fact, he holds a higher education diploma in cinematography from Cairo and received training at major London networks such as the BBC.
Nasr eventually returned to Jordan where he taught fine arts at the University of Jordan. He has also published a number of articles in Al Arabi magazine. Currently, he works on paintings in his home studio in Amman.