Born in Baghdad in 1963, Nazar first started working as an artist while still in high school, working as an illustrator for a children’s magazine in the early 1980s. He majored in art while in college, graduating in 1987 from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad. In 2008 he and his family moved to Houston, Texas.
Yahya’s artwork has been exhibited extensively in the Middle East in Beirut, Bahrain, Amman, Dubai, and Qatar. His artwork has also been exhibited in London, Norway, Bangladesh, and the United States. His artwork was included in the book Art in Iraq Today, published by Skira and Meem Editions. The British Museum, London; the Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; and the Station Museum in Houston, Texas, have collected his work.