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SOME of the kingdom’s most celebrated artists, calligraphers, photographers and sculptors are featuring their brightly-coloured canvases and metallic and wooden creations at the Bahrain Artistic Frames Centre’s newly-launched gallery.
The airy art space, located in Hoora’s bustling Exhibition Avenue opposite the centre’s existing shop, is showcasing the works of Bahraini classical painter Abbas Al Mosawi, Bahraini contemporary painter Mariam Fakhro, Iraqi calligrapher Haider Al Shaibani, Bahraini sculptor Khalil Al Hashimi, Iraqi classical painter Haider Ali and Bahraini photographer Mahdi Al Jallawi.
Vast crowds lined the pavement as the exhibition was opened by Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the first president and the current honorary president of the Bahrain Arts Society, a non-profit organisation for Bahraini artists to gather and hold their exhibitions, as well as actively participating in art shows across the Middle East, Europe and Asia.
The VIP guest, art lovers and members of the media were welcomed by the centre’s director Ali Asgar Shafiq who said he was ‘thrilled and delighted’ that Shaikh Rashid could support the venture.
The Bahrain Artistic Frames Centre, established in 1982, originates from a family business dating back 70 years covering three generations. It boasts five shops spread across the kingdom. The management says it is ‘proud to be supporting local artists’ as well as providing them with a laboratory and workshop space to further develop their work and exhibit to the public.
There is a vast number of amazing artwork on display and the visiting royal was visibly moved by the exhibition. Amongst the first work he viewed was created by Abbas. His large pieces are inspired by the old souq of Manama and its surrounding villages.
He is delighted that the new gallery will offer local artists a chance to exhibit their work in the heart of the community. Abbas said: “The location is brilliant, being in the centre of Manama and close to the frame shop which is great for artists. Not only will people be able to admire the different styles of work but there will also be an array of events, workshops and lectures for people to enjoy.”
Abbas, known as the ‘godfather of peace and art in Bahrain’, has been exhibiting all around the globe for the last two decades and has been involved in numerous community and charitable projects.
He has won countless prizes for his work and in one major project encouraged children and professional artists to paint and take photographs of images which should help promote peace. As the project started growing it extended itself into music, singing and poetry. The United Nations commended him for his work at its 60th anniversary which too enhanced his reputation.
Abbas has also played a key role in the community on the sporting front in recent years. His Yalla Bahrain! Motorsport Art Exhibition opened to international acclaim at the national museum by grand prix driver Rubens Barrichello and follow up F1 projects have included bringing together the kingdom’s art-loving youngsters on a motor racing painting adventure.
Mariam’s contemporary acrylic paintings depict local homes and villages too. She said: “I love the gallery space, set up and how the pieces are being exhibited. I was pleased to see so many people attended the opening.
“I think it’s great that the Bahrain Artistic Frames Centre has launched this gallery because artists need more spaces such as this to feature their work. There are many artists in Bahrain and their talents should be put on display.”
Prize-winning photographer and architect Mahdi, who is a member of the Bahrain Arts Society Photo Club, is exhibiting his collection of urban fabric and traditional images. He first stamped his mark on the art scene after being selected as the first photographer to have his work used on postage stamps.
Mahdi said: “Normally people print their work on photographic paper but I’m doing it on a totally new medium.
“Each artist that is being featured here used different techniques and styles that regular painters, calligraphers, sculptors and photographers might not traditionally use.
“We have been given this chance to experiment and try out new things, thanks to the Bahrain Artistic Frame Centre. If they had not provided us with this gallery, then we perhaps would not have been able to express ourselves as artistically as we would want to. For example, Abbas was able to create larger paintings because of the amount of space provided here.”
Khalil, who works predominantly in bronze, stone and wood, has exhibited throughout the Middle East and Europe.
He recently turned dark Emperador marble from Egypt into what resembles a sail boat at the Bahrain 44th Annual Fine Arts Exhibition in Arad Fort. An array of free workshops and lectures led by professionals from around the world are planned in the coming days.
Classes at the gallery will feature painting, calligraphy and photography amongst the subjects. Further details and timings will be announced shortly.
The event will conclude on February 18. For further information, call 36124888.