Dazed Digital


Road to Dubai: Marwan Sahmarani

February 1, 2012

Our interview series with visiting artists, musicians and creative practitioners

  • Text by Simone Sebastian

We continue our series of profiles of visiting creative practitioners who inspire and inform the city. Each feature will be based solely on works from their artistic arsenal, in an attempt to understand the emotions and processes that inspire the individual.

Marwan Sahmarani's exhibition of paintings entitled "Marie Marie, the Devil In Me Has Taken You For a Ride" closes today at the Lawrie Shabibi gallery in Al Serkal Avenue. The show is ripe with works inspired by the Lebanese artist's personal experiences as a father, a marked contrast to his socio-political work of past. We picked three pieces from the show and asked the painter to let loose. 

Satellite Voices: "Lonely I feel, Lonely I trust, 3"
Marwan Sahmarani: The white baby [in the painting] came first, it took me few gestures to portray the already well confident and free mind of Mila at this early stage of life. I did not retouch this anymore, I kept it as it was. But for the two remaining figures in the painting, it took me nine months to complete them. Thick paint laying over more thick paint, the representation of the two people are in a disappearing stage, yellow white is the predominant colour, it is pushing to invade the entire space in order to return to the essence of the tissues or canvas.

SV: "Post Madonna and Child 3"
Marwan Sahmarani: Two complementary colours, orange and blue, are representing the child and the mother, pushing each other out of the canvas. The two colours struggle to be respectively heard as the first. A few violent strokes portray this situation, enough is told. I needed to stop at the right stage of execution, otherwise the picture would fall deeply into a melodramatic story.

SV: "Spanish Princess"
Marwan Sahmarani:
I found an embroidered cap in an antique shop in Montréal. It made me think about the infant from Velasquez, I needed to paint my little one wearing it. In the painting she is only four months old and already throning like a princess on a pink background. Big red lips, that echo the big tender and passionate kisses from her mother, then a loose yellow brush stroke heavily loaded with paint like the bright light coming through my studio on a beautiful sunny winter day in Beirut in February 2011.

Image Credits (from top to bottom) 
"Lonely I feel, Lonely I trust, 3", 2011 by Marwan Sahmarani 
"Post Madonna and Child, 3", 2011 by Marwan Sahmarani
"Spanish Princess", 2011 by Marwan Sahmarani

All images courtesy of the artist and Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai 

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