Guest Project
March 22, 2021–April 22, 2021

Before the Blast | Marwan Sahmarani

March 22, 2021–April 22, 2021 | Warehouse 44

A special exhibition exploring chaos and conflict in the works of Marwan Sahmarani

Starts March 22, 2021

Ends April 22, 2021

Venue Warehouse 44


Leila Heller Gallery, in collaboration with Alserkal Avenue, is pleased to announce Before the Blast, an exhibition of work by artist Marwan Sahmarani opening March 22nd. Ninety-five percent of the works in Before the Blast were completed prior to the 2020 explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. These works thus illustrate the aggravated tension the country was living in the eighteen months leading up to the blast. While none of the works explicitly address the explosion, they all exemplify, through brushstroke, movement, and colour, the increasing strain between the government and the people that was well underway prior to the blast.

Breaking slightly with his previous works, those in Before the Blast are highly connected to the people and region. Geometric bodies en masse convey the chaos and conflict that constituted day to day life in Lebanon. Motifs of flesh, body, and violence populate the canvases and emphasize human destruction.

One of his works, Revolution I, was hit by a window when his studio went down in the blast. Now sewn back together with a needle, it still holds the scars of the blast. Within the works in Before the Blast, the background and foregrounds are mixed together and the viewer can almost experience the turmoil and tension that Sahmarani felt in Lebanon. Unequivocally, Sahmarani expresses his feelings about living in a country torn economically, politically, culturally, and structurally. Ten percent of all proceeds from Before the Blast will be donated to a charity of the artist's choice to aid in blast relief efforts in Lebanon.

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