The works of painter, sculptor, enamellist, photographer and academic researcher, Balan Nambiar, have been exhibited in national and international art exhibitions, including Venice Biennale in 1982; Constructa-78, Hannover, 1978 and Triennale India, New Delhi, 1975. His works are in the permanent collection of many museums, corporate bodies and institutions.
Many of his works are outdoor sculptures, some of them monumental. He has extensively studied and documented hundreds of ritual performances and art forms of the Indian west coast as Teyyam and Bhuta. He has received several awards both for creative works and academic research. Among these are the Lalit Kala Akademi National Award; Karnataka Lalitkala Academy Award; Nehru Fellowship and Senior Fellowship of the Ministry of Culture. He is a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi and the Sangeetha Nataka Academy of Kerala. He received the Raja Ravi Verma Puraskaram by the Kerala Government in 2015.