ArtPress Issue 2 August 2015
Abbas Almoswai Horse 2 2014 Acrylic on canvas 170x70cm
ArtPress Issue 2 page 2
Artist and Galleries Announced
Bahrain Arts Society to participate in ArtBahrain “Initiated by H.E. Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Arts Society was established in 1983 as a nonprofit cultural organisation following the request of 34 Bahraini artists to the government of Bahrain. Today its 150 members comprise selected artists from the Bahrain region, including many of the original 34 artists.”
Mr Ali Al Mahmeed, Chairman of the Bahrain Arts Society
ArtBahrain recently announces that the Bahrain Arts Society will be one of the important galleries participating in the international Fair. ArtBahrain spoke to Mr Ali Al Mahmeed, Chairman of the Bahrain Arts Society and himself a renowned artist, who said he was eagerly looking forward to participating in the fair. Very supportive of the initiative, Mr Al Mahmeed is confident that ArtBahrain would do well for both the Society and Bahrain in general; offering an international art-loving audience the opportunity to encounter and engage with Bahraini art, and for Bahrainis to be introduced to the works of international artists.
Mr Al Mahmeed expects to see at least 20-30 Bahraini artists, including painters and sculptures exhibited at the Society’s booth in the fair. No matter what the art show displays, we promise to bring you more updates in the near future! Mr Al Mahmeed spoke on behalf of the history of the Society to explain how it was, “initiated by H.E. Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Bahrain Arts Society was established in 1983 as a non-profit cultural organisation following the request of 34 Bahraini artists to the government of Bahrain. Today its 150 members comprise selected artists from the Bahrain region, including many of the original 34 artists.” An established landmark on the local art scene, the Society offers training in the arts of sculpting, pottery, Arabic calligraphy, painting, interior designing and photography. It holds regular exhibitions as well as workshops, lectures and cultural events at the Bahrain Art Center, which was inaugurated in 1992. Additionally the Society has, on numerous occasions, exhibited its members’ works internationally – in the Gulf, the wider Middle East, Europe and Asia.
In the 1930s the House of Art Talents was established with the aim of bringing together people who love the arts and literature, paving its way ahead of its time in the Gulf. Two decades later, Bahrain’s modernist art movement was formalised with the establishment of an Arts and Literature club in 1952. A lively hub, the club served as an umbrella group for professional and amateur artists, musicians, and actors in Bahrain. In 1956, the first exhibition was held in the Bahraini capital, Manama. Today, this artistic tradition continues and the inhabitants of the islands are known for their deep interest in the arts. ArtBahrain is proud to have the society members exhibit in the Bahrain Pavilion. The 400 sqm area shall house the best art the Island has to offer. Mr Al Mahmeed is personally curating this exceptional initiative.
ArtPress Issue 2 page 3
Artist and Galleries Announced
ArtBahrain Ties Up With Top Brands ArtBahrain is striding forward with many more top brands having tied up with the art fair to bring the best of art to the archipelago nation. The platinum sponsor supporting the fair is the Bahrain Airport Company that has set international standards in running the airport of this beautiful Kingdom. The gold sponsor supporting ArtBahrain is the ultimate name in high end automobile luxury – Rolls Royce. The brand that needs no introduction, but sets the bar for the ArtBahrain many notches higher. “Art is the desire of a man to express himself, to record the reactions of his personality to the world he lives in. Rolls Royce Motor Cars embodies this belief and is driven by customer’s ability to express themselves through every aspect of these fine luxury vehicles,” said Mr. Nawaf Al Zayani, Managing Director of Euro Motors.
The gold sponsors of the fair is the inimitably positioned Four Seasons hotel, set amidst the stunning beauty of the Kingdom’s capital city of Manama, and a soaring architectural statement located on its own exclusive island. Moda Mall that boasts of having all the top end international brands under one roof has come forward to be one of the gold sponsors of the International Fair.
The official logistics support to the ArtBahrain will be provided by the international giant DHL, which is “delighted to be the official logistics provider to ArtBahrain, the first international art fair in Bahrain. DHL being a pioneer in the field of logistics sees this as the perfect backdrop to showcase its global skill set on a local level, bringing arts from around the world to Bahrain for all to see and appreciate,” according to the country general manager Mr Abdul Aziz Busbate.
The silver sponsor of ArtBahrain is Tamkeen, the cornerstones of Bahrain’s national reform initiatives and economic vision to develop the Kingdom’s private sector and positioning it as the key driver of economic development. The other silver sponsor which has tied up with ArtBahrain is Lavazza, the towering aromatic coffee brand that is known for its interest in culture.
Setting Benchmarks Since 1932
With the first commercial flight arriving in Bahrain in 1932, Bahrain became home to the Gulf’s first international airport. Today, Bahrain International Airport continues its successful journey and is proud to be one of the leading airports – then, now and tomorrow.
Artist and Galleries Announced
ArtPress Issue 2 page 4
Ambassadors of Art
The ArtBahrain will bring a large gamut of artists to the fair whose canvas in terms of experience, skill and innovation will set the unique fair apart from any other in the international arena
Abbas Almosawi – Attracted to Impressionism Abbas Almosawi is undoubtedly one of the most influential artists of Bahrain. His body of work is distinctive for his brush strokes and interesting compositions that are evidently the work of a great master. Recognizable all over the GCC, his work is deep rooted in his way of seeing and experiencing his home country Bahrain ever since he was a child growing up in Muharraq, where the tradition of pearl trading had its beginning. “I am a professional artist for more than 40 years and the founder of the Art & Peace Project in 1991. I learned my craft under the tutelage of the Bahraini artist Dr Ahmed Baqer. Later, as a student in Cairo, I was attracted to the impressionist style of Sabry Ragheb, whom I consider to this day to be the prince of painters. The sources for my work were and are deriving principally from the old Manama Market, Manama’s suburbs and surrounding villages. Given the irreversible changes of the urban and rural landscape my paintings provide the viewer with the necessary imaginative and aesthetic bridge to the past. Indeed, such paintings are the power of my native Bahrain and of my artistic outputs which colour; both literally and figuratively, inspire my abstract paintings,” says the celebrated artist Abbas Almosawi. Gallery Artdivano is hosting Abbas Almosawi at ArtBahrain. “We are honoured to co-operate with him on various projects as well as representing him on our soon to be launched website www.artdivano.com. Those who have had the opportunity to see him ‘live at work’ know about the exquisite beauty of his works and cannot resist the gorgeousness of his paintings. He is a true master painter and for me he is in Bahrain, the artist of the hearts,” said Marion Labani an art consultant for the Gallery Artdivano.
Abbas Almosawi Horse 3 Acrylic paint 130cmx130cm Gallery Artdivano
Almosawi’s latest works of handsome, powerful and magical horses in mixed media on canvas will be on show at ArtBahrain. A painting of a horse will reproduced on high quality archival paper as a limited edition of 50 at an affordable price. The reproductions are made in-house at the Archival Print Studio of Artdivano in Bahrain.
“Almosawi’s latest works of handsome, powerful and magical horses in mixed media on canvas will be on show at ArtBahrain. A painting of a horse will reproduced on high quality archival paper as a limited edition of 50 at an affordable price. The reproductions are made in-house at the Archival Print Studio of Artdivano in Bahrain.”
ArtPress Issue 2 page 5
Artist and Galleries Announced
Omar Al Rashid – Steeped in Tradition Omar AI-Rashid the highly creative artist who will be showing from the gallery Arabian Collections, is deeply entrenched in a heritage that is inspired by local Bahraini as well as Islamic culture. This has resulted in the production of exceptionally innovative art. Experimenting prudently, from the beginning of his career he knew that his emotional inclination to heritage, customs and tradition could restrict him to the traditional practice of art. However, his dedication to his heritage also caused him to make the conscious decision to dissociate himself from the craze of the plastic artists who were greatly influenced by “experimental” western art and were using western ideas, thoughts and materials in their art work. Therefore, AIRashid’s work is perceived as semi-abstract and semi-novel even though its nearness to “reality” is prevalent. He has achieved a balance between form and content as well as originality and modernity. Born in Muharraq in 1966, AI-Rashid was inspired by the bright, vibrant colours of the seascape. Muharraq was the first place where his passion for Bahrain’s customs and folklore developed. His second artistic inspiration was his mother. As a child, he monitored her movement, traditional dress and endless folk tales. It is because of this intimate association with his mother that he holds women in high respect in his work. His choice of a woman as the subject of much of his work also allows for his portrayal of intricate and detailed fabric. His female figures echo a balance between femininity and strength; strength reflected by the dominating colours and vivacious fabric. Colour dominates when darkness is present, causing the abayah to play an inferior role to the fabric which lay beneath it. He uses his ability to intertwine culture and tradition with a depiction of a strong woman. He positions his women so that they appear firm and secure; as the focal point of the painting. Their importance is obvious regardless of whether or not their faces are obscured. These are not portraits but instead are portrayals of symbolic women; middle-eastern women; women of the past, present and future.
Omar Al Rashid The knight 2014 Acrylic on Canvas 150x150cm Arabian Collections
His latest “child” drawings, as well as his focus on traditional games in Bahrain, suggest a return to an age old tradition. They evoke a desire to document pleasant, childhood memories; even he admits that these are his most personal works. His figures are drawn to give one the impression that he is, consciously and subconsciously, expressively returning to childhood. He renders them in a modern yet simple manner, much like a child.
Jaffar Al Oraibi- Ali Meets William Inspired by his time in the United Kingdom, Jaffar Al Oraibi’s “When Ali Met William” series continues his introspective inquiry to explore the role of the individual in society. Showing from the Al Riwaq Art Gallery, Al Oraibi evolves this notion further by investigating the concept of manhood and the role that men play in contemporary society. “The artist relies on the human form, often his own, as a vehicle to question masculine drives, instincts and urges, and to make sense of pre-conceived notions and pre-set expectations.” Towering male figures represented in thick black strokes of paint dominate the compositions, with strong forms, yet downcast heads, resulting in blended images of both strength and fragility. Al Oraibi uses bright, luminous colours throughout to add an element of lightness in contrast with his use of heavy black. He also relies on symbolic depictions to represent both masculine and feminine characteristics, as well as to draw attention to more basic, primeval human drives. Jaffar Al Oraibi’s work delves into the characteristics of humanity that are often unspoken and rarely exhibited. His work attempts to bring meaning and a sense of visual order to the chaotic underpinnings of humanity’s basic emotions. The artist finds people’s public persona to be contrived and deliberate. The innermost thoughts that reveal their instincts thus become fodder for his paintings.
Jaffar Al Oraibi When Ali met William 2012 Oil - charcoal & oil bar on canvas 144x149cm Al Riwaq Art Gallery
“The artist relies on the human form, often his own, as a vehicle to question masculine drives, instincts and urges, and to make sense of preconceived notions and pre-set expectations.”
ArtPress Issue 2 page 6
Artist and Galleries Announced
Rubina Malik – Art for Life For artist Rubina Malik, who will be showing at ArtBahrain, “Art has just been a part of life.” She had been inspired by internationally known artists who piqued her interest in art. This led to the Dhahran Art Group at Saudi Aramco where working with clay and sculpting her dreams into reality resonated for her and she found herself increasingly working with clay and its myriad variants. It has been an arduous, but fascinating, process of learning the many firing techniques and methods to create unique lustrous finishes that characterize her work. Rubina’s work today encompasses a wide range of thrown, sculpted and fusion designs that are acts as another mode of her expression. Firing techniques include Raku, pit firing, Saggar, Kosai fumed lusterware, photo-lithography and horsehair Raku. Rubina creates her specific glazes and experiments to the desired results. She also works in fused glass and sometimes combines it with her clay artwork.
The clay and porcelain pieces are either thrown on a wheel, handmade from a slab or wheel thrown designs that are altered. Her firing technique is such that the results are rather unpredictable. They depend on fire, chance and luck on how these elements work on any given day. The very unpredictability of her Raku and Saggar fired pottery lends an element of anticipation before the piece comes out of the kiln as no two pieces are ever alike. In addition to her artwork, Rubina has also chaired a number of major art shows in Dhahran and managed the Gallery of Saudi Aramco’s Dhahran Art Group for many years. She has held many solo and group shows in Dhahran and Al-Khobar.
“It has been an arduous, but fascinating, process of learning the many firing techniques and methods to create unique lustrous finishes that characterize my work.” - Rubina Malik
Rubian Malik Horse Hair Raku Skeins 2011 38 cm Arabian Collections
ArtPress Issue 2 page 7
Artist and Galleries Announced
the impressionistic oil painters of the School of Den Hague. Erna was deftly guided by her now deceased mentor, a Dutch old Master, whose recognition of her natural talent steered her present techniques, inspiring her and giving her the conviction to progress to where she is today.
or dog, the intensity of the hunt and stare of a bird of prey.” It’s their passion for life that is the same passion with which she paints, bringing their existence, lifelike skill. One can almost see nature unfold before you. Erna feels she expresses her true emotional self when she is painting.
Erna Goudbeek – Passion for nature Erna Goudbeek, born in 1966, grew up in Almelo, a scenic town in the province of Overijssel in Holland, which is where her love for art took root and expanded. From a successful career at the NATO base to working full time in her studio and gallery in her home in Neugnadenfeld, a small village in Germany, Erna has established her credentials as an artist of no mean standing and developed a unique and captivating style. She has evolved into an artist for whom nature is an eternal muse. She was influenced by her love of the natural world and
“It feels like I’ve gone back in time and have finally come home; here I have settled down”, surrounded by nature and wildlife, she finds the inspiration she needs to create. “Erna’s admiration of nature and wild animals are the life force of her work; evident in the captured soul of her subjects on panel, like the purity and grace of an owl, or the strength of a horse
“Erna’s admiration of nature and wild animals are the life force of her work; evident in the captured soul of her subjects on panel, like the purity and grace of an owl, or the strength of a horse or dog, the intensity of the hunt and stare of a bird of prey.”
Erna Goudbeek Ships of the Desert 2015 Oil on panel 85x112cm
Ugo Nespolo – Multifaceted Artist Nespolo has experimented with designing stage sets for Ferruccio Busoni’s opera Turandot at Connecticut Grand Opera, Stamford, the first of several theatre works he made, including the sets and costumes for Paisiello’s Don Chisciotte at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in 1990 and for Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, a production for the Rome Opera, the Paris Opera and the Lausanne Opera, Liège and Metz. He also designed stage and costumes for Puccini’s Madama Butterfly at the Festival Puccini 2007 in Torre del Lago.
Ugo Nespolo is the very dynamic Italian painter and sculptor, particularly known for his experimental films, applied arts works and artistic collaborations in advertising, theatre and literature. His work was influenced by pop art, popular in Italy in the 60s, conceptual art, Arte Povera and Fluxus. He encountered and appreciated these movements during his frequent trips to the United States. Since the 80s, irony and transgression are part of his art and characterise Nespolo’s work. Nespolo worked extensively for artistic and experimental cinema and he has done about 20 films over 40 years. Nespolo’s films have been exhibited in institutions like the Beaubourg in Paris, the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw’s Filmoteka Polska and Ferrara’s Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna. In 2002, Nespolo was appointed artistic co-ordinator for the Metropolitana di Torino, with the aim of realising the first “underground museum of modern art”. Several underground stations are decorated with his glass etchings and images.
Ugo Nespolo China Town 1996 Acrylic on Canvas dia. 190cm
Artist and Galleries Announced
ArtPress Issue 2 page 8
The Art Book As an important step towards chronicling the history of Bahraini art especially in the international context will be a quality publication mooted to be released at the opening of ArtBahrain. Envisaged as a world class publication it has been visualized as the last word on Bahraini artists in the decades to come. The world class book will help create awareness within the art world about important Bahraini artists and will go a long way in positioning art from Bahrain. Envisaged as a world class publication it has been visualized as the last word on Bahraini artists in the decades to come. The world class book will help create awareness within the art world about important Bahraini artists and will go a long way in positioning art from Bahrain. To be published by Miracle Graphics, the book will be written by an international authority on art, Renaud Siegmann critic and art advisor ArtBahrain. With more than 20 years experience in the art market, he is heading VIP Relations for ArtBahrain. “It has been an honour to be involved in this prestigious project. Preserving Bahrain’s cultural achievements has always been a Miracle Graphics objective” says Sameer Ghaith, CEO of Miracle. Before assuming his current role, he was general commissioner for Marrakech Art Fair in 2010 and 2011. As a publishing specialist, he planned the management set-up for the Moroccan art magazine Diptyk. His career started as an editor for Artcurial’s review and gallery founded by L’Oreal in Paris. He was an independent curator working alongside Unesco in Paris and a cultural engineer for the Scottish Executive in Edinburgh. Renaud Siegmann
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