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Showcasing artistic creativity

May 18 - 24, 2016

Gulf Weekly Showcasing artistic creativity

Members of the media and VIPs have been given a glimpse of the work of Bahraini artists which will thrill and engage with art-lovers at a unique show being staged in the UK this month.

Bahrain Art Across Borders (BAAB) is a significant new arts venture designed to showcase the kingdom’s rich creative talent to an international audience and further promote the country as an artistic hub on the regional and global map.

The project is a joint venture between Art Select (brand of Art and Spice), the art investing and consultancy firm which launched the ArtBahrain fair last year, and Tamkeen, a semi-government organisation contributing towards making Bahrain’s private sector the key driver of economic growth.

Tamkeen chairman Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa said: “Tamkeen works continuously to support Bahrainis across all stages of their development, with the ultimate aim of making the private sector the main engine for economic development.

“This requires supporting them in reaching new markets and new avenues for growth beyond just the kingdom’s borders. The group of artists who will be showcasing their works in London represent part of Tamkeen’s efforts to push Bahrainis and work with them in bringing unique Bahraini craftsmanship to new and untapped markets.”

Under his patronage, a sample of works by the first group of 17 artists selected under the BAAB initiative went on display during a reception recently held at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.

The art on show forms part of the 45-piece collection to be exhibited in London at the inaugural BAAB London 2016 event which will kick-off with a launch reception at the reputed Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) on May 25, following which the works will then be moved to a London gallery.

BAAB London 2016 is the first in a planned series of annual international exhibitions showcasing Bahrain’s most talented artists.

The Bahrain preview event was inaugurated by Shaikh Mohammed, in the presence of Tamkeen and Art Select representatives, guests from the corporate and private sector, media representatives and the 17 artists themselves who range from veterans of the Bahraini art scene to early career artists who are venturing into international events for the first time.

The event also featured the unveiling of the BAAB London 2016 catalogue and a short film that reflects the true essence of the project.

The 17 artists chosen to showcase their work in London are Amina Al Abassi, Balqees Fakhro, Ebrahim Busaad, Faika Al Hassan, Ghada Khunji, Ghassan Muhsin, Hamed Al Bosta, Jamal Abdul Rahim, Lulwa Al Khalifa, Marwa Al Khalifa, Nabeela Al Khayer, Noof Alrefaei, Omar Al Rashid, Taiba Faraj, Sumaya Abdulghani, Mayasa Al Sowaidi and Mariam Fakhro.

The artists specialise in many areas of the visual arts, from painting to sculpture and photography and their London portfolio reflects the strength, originality and tradition of the Bahraini identity.

Tamkeen chief executive Dr Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi added: “It gives us great pleasure to be supporting a group of passionate Bahrainis who will be showcasing their unique talents and creativity.

“This group of extremely talented individuals, from established to early-career artists to veterans of the industry, have taken an important step in transcending local boundaries, and contributing further to fuelling economic activity in this sector and opening the doors to the development of a sustainable arts industry for future generations.”

The work of 12 female artists among the 17 reflects the growing influence of an important group of women and also gives exposure to a few emerging talents who will be exhibiting along with new works from more established names.

Kaneka Subberwal, founder of Art Select, said: “The preview event marked the culmination of efforts from various parties to bring the BAAB vision to life – the works showcased provided a glimpse of the extraordinary pieces that will be making their way to London to represent Bahrain’s spirit, culture, people and landscapes.

“We appreciate Tamkeen’s support which is invaluable to this project’s future success and look forward to working in partnership to give the same opportunity to many more local artists to display their skills and talent across the world.

“The opportunities and exposure that the BAAB initiative will offer is instrumental in stimulating the local arts scene and turning the spotlight on to the multitude of talent we have on this island. Bahrain is one of the richest in the region in terms of history, culture and heritage and this is manifested through its creative minds who have done a tremendous job in profiling their country with the highest respect and admiration.”

The 17 artists were selected following an open call held across the kingdom. Applicants were asked to submit works in any media or style inspired by Bahrain’s cultural identity, its land or seascape, its environment or its people.

The artists were chosen through digital submission by an international panel of expert judges including consultant Janet Rady, a London gallerist specialising in Contemporary Middle Eastern and Islamic Art and artist, curator and lecturer Dr Aissa Deebi.

BAAB has been designed to foster excellence in the arts through exhibitions and educational programmes that will serve as a catalyst for the future development and recognition of Bahrain artists across the world.

Each year BAAB will select prominent creative talent in the kingdom and provide them with the opportunity to exhibit their works in reputed venues across major cities in the world, including galleries and museums.

* After the V&A, this year’s artworks will be relocated to Gallery 8, Duke Street, in the heart of the St James’s district, where they will stay on display for nine days, from Friday, May 27 to Saturday, June 4.

Bahrain Art Across Borders: BAAB fosters excellence in the visual arts through exhibitions and educational programmes that serve as catalysts for the future of Bahrain and Arab art.

Its mission is to promote cross-cultural dialogue and enable artists to better understand the time in which they live professionally. It will also serve to introduce art collectors and enthusiasts across the world to the talents and vision of Bahrain’s artists.

Tamkeen: This semi-government organisation in Bahrain was established in 2006 under Law Number (57) as part of the country’s national reform initiatives, with the task of making the private sector as the key driver of sustainable economic development.

Underpinned by its three strategic pillars – enhancing quality, serving customers and achieving results – the organisation provides an integrated range of programmes to create a solid foundation for a modern economy – such as SME financing, skills training and entrepreneurship.

At the same time, these programmes address key challenges facing Bahrainis and businesses in the private sector at various stages of their development – from start-ups to mature companies, and from students to senior executives. To date, Tamkeen’s programmes have served more than 130,000 Bahrainis and businesses.

Art Select: This unique initiative was launched on the strength of a private passion by its founder and owner Kaneka Subberwal, which today is a strong and successful international business format.

The hosting of high calibre exhibitions, together with providing a platform for emerging artists has given Art Select a definite edge in making art more accessible, thereby strengthening its association with clients from various cities including Dubai, Muscat, London and Bahrain. The art exhibited ranges from established masters to emerging talent from India, Pakistan and the Middle East.

The Art Select team endeavours to position itself as a valuable resource for a substantial range of quality art and finally to advise, consult and assist clients in the significance of building private and corporate collections.

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