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Drawing on an architect’s vision

September 13 - 19, 2017

Gulf Weekly Drawing on an architect’s vision

Architect Tejbir Singh sketched and painted a series of colourful canvases to capture the kingdom’s beauty highlighting the island’s old and new designs after being drawn into art by the Bahrain’s rich heritage and culture.

Sixteen of the father-of-two’s paintings, themed ‘Bahrain - Traditional & Modern’ are currently being showcased at Harbour Tower’s West lobby and will move to the East Tower by the end of the month.

Indian expat Tejbir, who is from New Delhi, said: “I feel art should not just be confined to galleries - it’s to be enjoyed by people all around us.

“That’s what I believe exhibiting at the harbour is a great idea as it exposes a lot of people who work there and visitors to different art forms by the numerous guest artists invited to display their creations.

“I’m quite delighted about exhibiting here and am excited to see how different viewers react to my own take on Bahrain.”

Tejbir’s style is a reflection of his profession. He was particularly captivated by the streets of Muharraq during a period of time he was working on various architectural projects.

Fascinated by the designs of the historic buildings and the authentic appearance of the area, he began to capture the scene with a series of pen and ink drawings and adding touches of water colour and pastel paints to make the images come alive even more.

In his spare time he would sit and sketch and on other occasions he would snap a picture of a place of inspiration before picking up pencils and paint in his home in Juffair.

Tejbir said: “During the last couple of years, I have been drawn even more to the heritage of the island. As I walked through the streets of Muharraq I discovered some absolute gems. 

“My work often features the hustle and bustle of the narrow streets with focus on the buildings and mosques too which are integral part of the local community.

“Some of the works feature night scenes with a somewhat mysterious play on light and shadows. Quite a few of feature the mesmerising co-existence and juxtaposition of the traditional with the modern, the old and the new, indicating to us the passage of time.

“On one side, I have traditional Bahraini architecture and attire and then I added the modern images of Bahrain with the skyscrapers, towers, roads and highways. A lot of my art has to do with culture as it fascinates me, although I also enjoy landscapes and occasionally abstract, as well as impressionism.”

His paintings, which have attracted a loyal private collection following, fetch between BD50 to BD150, and include views of Bayt Siyadi House, one of Muharraq’s famous historic buildings constructed for pearl merchant Abdullah bin Isa Siyadi and the harbour.

The Bahrain World Trade Centre and the Bahrain Financial Harbour have also come into his wider Bahrain collection. Aside from landscapes, he has also captured traditional clothing such as the Arabic head dress, known as ghuttra, and how it’s worn. 

Tejbir’s plan is to create a sketch book series of Bahrain. He said: “I love to paint and draw. Ever since I recall, I was always fond of doodling, sketching, drawing and painting.

“My teachers in school encouraged me and introduced me to oil paints at a very early age and my tryst with water colours started when I joined a college of architecture. Apart from these two mediums, I keep dabbling with pastels, charcoal, pen and ink.

“Nature has always been a major source of inspiration for me. However, the architect in me is drawn towards the inherent and beauty of historic buildings and monuments.”

During his student years Tejbir picked up a ‘best artist’ accolade and participated in several exhibitions including the annual exhibitions of Punjab Lalit Kala Academy while studying architecture in Le Corbusier’s Chandigrah.

He had his first solo exhibition at AIFFACS Art Gallery in New Delhi in 1990 and one of his paintings was selected to be featured at the annual conference of World Council for Religions in San Francisco for depicting the unity of all religions.

His paintings have also made it onto the walls of art galleries in Lonond, and he held his first solo exhibit in Bahrain at Ideas Gallery in Adliya in 1999 followed by another in 2002 in the same venue about Bahraini landscapes. 

Since his stay in the kingdom, he has featured his work at Lina’s Café, Alliance Francaise, in Ahli Mall art festival, at the souq gallery in Bab Al Bahrain, at One Touch Gallery and at Malja Art Gallery. In April this year, he participated in New York Art Expo with ARTIFACT Art Gallery.

Painting in his blood and he finds most inspiration in the early hours before heading to work and during the weekends.  

His wife, Chandan, a marketing and training consultant, his daughter Rasneet, 21, who is studying interior design in India and his son Harjyot, 25, who works in UK, are proud of his achievements.

For more details visit the exhibition, email tejbirsingh25@gmail.com or follow him on Instagram @tejbirsingh25.

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