Picasso’s Guernica Gives Light to Lebanese Artist’s Expression of War

A winner of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, Marwan Sahamrani spends half the year in Beirut and the other half in the small Mediterranean mountain village of Tarbena, Spain, which his work reflects. His textured paintings have abstract, expressionist tendencies but are rooted in the early traditions of landscape painting.

He draws heavy inspiration from Picasso’s Guernica, a painting that is particularly close to his heart; Sahmarani sees it as representing an analogous situation to the violence he has witnessed throughout his life in Lebanon.

“My work is another way of seeing the reality of the region,” he says.


With strong brushstrokes and vivid colours, Marwan Sahmarani’s practice reflects on the increasing political turmoil and tension felt throughout his native Lebanon. He explores the cyclical patterns of violent history manifesting throughout the Middle East so that what persists in his practice is an expressive exploration of violence – of feeling, bodily motion, nature and its man-made counterpart.

The conflict between inner and outer is central, but the real crux of his inquiry is deceivingly simple: how two people can arrive at a point where they attempt to destroy each other.

Translation: Lebanese artist “Marwan Sahmarani” spends half of the year in a small village in Spain, from which he draws inspiration for his work. Both the strokes and colors in his paintings give an impression of his abstract and stark vision of nature! . How would you describe the artist’s work and style?

Born in Beirut (1970) and based between Beirut and Spain, Marwan Sahmarani has participated in a variety of Solo and Group Exhibitions in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

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