Promise You Made at Marfa’ Projects by Tamara Al Samerraei

In the exhibition entitled “Promise You Made,” at Marfa’ Projects, Tamara Al Samerraei presents a new collection of work that explores both familiar and unfamiliar spaces, as well as the realm of painting itself. The exhibition showcases her Black Book series, where the artist creates paintings based on photographs of her watercolour diary entries from 2020 to 2022, a period marked by moments of solitude, heartbreak, and healing. Photography has always played a significant role in Al Samerraei’s artistic practice, acting as a way for her to reconnect with painting and the spaces she has either left behind or been compelled to leave.

Tamara Al Samerraei, Studio 4, 2023, 161 x 190 cm, Acrylic paint on canvas
Tamara Al Samerraei, Black Book 11, 2023, 85 x 111 cm. Acrylic paint on canvas

Al Samerraei depicts various subjects, including the walls of her studio, capturing remnants of a previous life and a precarious working environment. These paintings serve as “evidence of work and the evidence of life,” as described by the artist. Alongside physical settings, Al Samerraei revisits her earlier paintings that explore figuration and hint at the absences she has experienced in recent years. The artworks in this exhibition delve into the artist’s relationship with her own creations, the interplay between photography and painting, and the connection between personal experiences and artistic representation. Through restaging and recomposition, Al Samerraei reveals a world devoid of human interaction.

A notable piece within the exhibition is a painting depicting the exterior of her studio, which was once a refuge. This painting is accompanied by Jana Saleh’s solo piano composition titled “Soupir” (2020). The music resonates within the space, paying homage to a period of recovery and convalescence.


About Tamara Al Samerraei

Tamara Al-Samerraei, born in Kuwait in 1977 and currently based in Beirut, is a painter renowned for her individual and collective exhibitions on a global scale. She holds a BA in Fine Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut and has successfully completed the Home Workspace Program at Ashkal Alwan. Noteworthy solo showcases include “What Floats in Space” and “Let Me Stay a Little Longer” held at Marfa’ Projects in Beirut. Al-Samerraei has also made notable contributions to group exhibitions such as “Heavenly Beings: Neither Human Nor Animal” in Ljubljana and “Home Beirut: Sounding the Neighbours” hosted by the MAXXI Museum in Rome. Her artistic accomplishments have earned her recognition in numerous international art venues and events.

Location: Marfa’ Projects, Beirut

Date: 4 July –  15 September 2023

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