Marwan Sahmarani, Untitled. Oil on Canvas, 225 x 300 cm
View Gallery 29 Photos

Leila Heller presents Before the Blast, an exhibition of work by artist Marwan Sahmarani. Ninety-five percent of the works in the exhibition were completed prior to the explosion 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. These works thus illustrate the aggravated tension in which 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 government and peoples 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 emphasise 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 artists choice to aid in blast relief efforts in Lebanon.

The show is on view December 1, 2020 through January 1, 2021.

We’re taking you on a tour to explore the works.



SELECTIONS is a platform for the arts, focusing on the Arab World.

Selections editorial presents a quarterly print magazine and weekly online publication with high quality content on all subjects related to Art and Culture. Full of world-leading artworks, exquisite brand imagery, original creative illustrations and insightful written articles.
Selections Viewing Rooms presents carefully curated online art shows aiming not only to shed light on contemporary art executed by living artists, but also for viewers to buy contemporary fine art, prints & multiples, photography, street art and collectibles.
Discover the previous and current shows here.
Cultural Narratives foundation is an extensive collection that is travelling the world by leading established and emerging talents aiming to reflect the culture of the region in their works.

Art Dubai 2022, Photos courtesy of Electra Official Contractor of Art Dubai

Art Dubai unveils inclusive and extensive 2023 programme

Art Dubai unveils inclusive and extensive 2023 programme, reinforcing Dubai’s status as a significant contributor to global conversations about art Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the…


THE FUTURE OF TRADITIONS WRITING PICTURES: CONTEMPORARY ART FROM THE MIDDLE EAST This exhibition is about three generations of artists from Iran and the Arab world, from the early pioneers of a vernacular Lettrism movement in the 1960s till now.…

The Flowers of Molaeb

“A flower, Earth’s present in the space of Nature. The gift of Spring for a new beginning. A daisy from our garden, an old friend to our humble houses, a sign of returning home. Colour, shape, fragrance, rhythm, the joy…


  WOMEN ARTISTS IN THE MENA: THE ART SCENE FOR WOMEN IS THRIVING DESPITE MANY OBSTACLES   Women make up 42% of the artists showing at the Menart Fair in Brussels. A simple fact, not so much a proclamation as…


FIRST ACT BY MARYA KAZOUN IS UNVEILED IN THE SALA BIANCA OF PALAZZO PITTI, GALLERIE DEGLI UFFIZI CONTEMPORARY ART AGAINST THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS The director of the museum Eike Schmidt: “The conservation of artistic heritage and the conservation of landscape…

Art in the Desert by Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto by Qatar Museums.

Qatar museums unveiled site-specific public artworks by Olafur Eliasson, Simone Fattal and Ernesto Neto near Nation’s Northern Heritage Sites. Newly commissioned artworks are presented as part of one of the world’s most ambitious public art programmes comprised of more than…

january 2023

25aug(aug 25)18:0007jan(jan 7)21:00ANIA SOLIMAN | TERRAFORM


14nov(nov 14)09:0028jan(jan 28)09:00Wisdom of the crowd