Marwan Sahmarani (b. 1970, Beirut) with Curator Mahita El Bacha Urieta, Abraaj Group Art Prize 2010
The Feast of the Damned, Paintings, drawings, ceramics, projection, 9 x 5.5 x 3.5 m
The Feast of the Damned is an installation integrating painting, drawing, ceramics and film inspired by Hell: Fall of the Condemned Ones by Rubens. Sahmarani has created a three-dimensional space in which the themes of martyrdom and expiation are dealt with in a way that resembles the millennia-old techniques of fresco painting in combination with contemporary media. The themes of the work are rooted in the cultural traditions of the Middle East and are part of its contemporary socio-cultural reality, where various notions of evil are activated in political discourse at the service of agendas of control and violence, in association to gender, certain ideologies and civil society.
Marwan Sahmarani works in Beirut. With an archetypal biography specific to his generation, he left Lebanon in 1989 and moved to Paris to study at l’École Supérieur d’Art Graphique. His practice often makes historical reference to art history and socio-political issues that are still very present in the Middle East but inspired by themes that are timeless. Sahmarani has exhibited with Fadi Mogabgab Contemporary Art Gallery, Beirut, The Third Line, Dubai, Selma Feriani Gallery, London and Kaysha Hildebrand, Zurich.
Mahita El Bacha Urieta is a curator, producer and arts policy specialist based in London. She has been active in the Middle East, working with the Sharjah Biennial (2004-07) and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture & Heritage (ADACH). She has a BA in History and Archaeology of the Eastern Mediterranean region from the American University of Beirut (1997) and an MA in Arts Policy and Management, City University, London (2000).