Lebanese artist Omar Mismar made a splash at the Venice Biennale with a series of political mosaics inspired by ancient works, some of which comment on the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

The works received praise from Artnet News critic Ben Davis, who wrote that Mismar’s flair “stands out in a show of nearly unwavering sincerity.”

Mismar, a multi-media conceptual artist, was born in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon in 1986. He moved to Beirut for undergraduate studies in graphic design at the American University of Beirut, where he graduated in 2008.

He worked as a graphic designer in Lebanon before moving to the United States as a Fulbright scholar to earn two master’s degrees—an MFA in art as a social practice and a degree in visual and critical studies—both from the California College of the Arts, where he later worked as a part-time professor.

His experiences are vast. Mismar participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program; he had exhibitions in Paris, New York, Latvia, Brazil, Germany, and the Netherlands; he received several awards and grants for teaching, including as a visiting professor at the Pratt Institute and fellow at the Vera List Center for Arts and Politics;