Kabas painted mostly maritime scenes, from tranquil depictions of fishermen to mythical odysseys in a dark, gloomy atmosphere. His figures often exude pessimism amid imagery situated between the quotidian and the fantastic. In Exile, a contemplative mood prevails. Sitting alone and wearing a fez—the traditional Ottoman headdress—the figure contrasts with the ship, which flies the flag of the Turkish Republic. While the figure is enclosed inside a porch, the ship moves forward in the open sea.
Kabas received his degree in mechanical engineering from Robert College, an American school in Istanbul, in 1957. He then enrolled in the Painting Department at Yale University and received his BFA and MFA in 1960 and 1962, studying with Josef Albers and Jack Tworkov, among others. His first exhibition, at the Ross-Talalay Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, opened in 1962 and that same year, he returned to Turkey to teach at Robert College. In 1971 he became a faculty lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts, Istanbul, and in 1990 he was appointed professor there.