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A collective of renowned artists are showcasing their latest work during a two-week long exhibition at the Bahrain Art Gallery, Hoora.
Hussain Ali, Sudeep Deshpande, Tejbir Singh and Anil Kumar are displaying pieces celebrating various themes, including Bahraini heritage, abstract life and the built environment.
Hussain is a 37-year-old Bahraini self-taught painter who left his full-time five-star hospitality job to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an artist.
He has spent much of the last decade experimenting with different mediums, including acrylics, collage and image transfers and continues to push the envelope as he explores the effects of colours, textures, pop art and mixed media art.
He said: “I started sketching when I was a young boy but it is difficult in our culture to convince your family that being an artist can be a full-time career which earns money. But in 2009, I took a leap of faith and joined our family furniture gallery.”
In addition to a collection of colourful mixed media art pieces creatively employing image transfer to highlight various door-related themes, the young artist also works with discarded pieces of wood that he finds at the kingdom’s many beaches.
He added: “When I started, we were importing furniture from overseas. But I wondered what if we made that here. Now I try to reuse wood that is often discarded from ships and washes on shore. Based on how the wood speaks to me, I design various one-of-a-kind furniture pieces and working with a carpenter, we mould the wood into something unique, including tables, chairs, benches, décor and more.
“I also try and reuse discarded materials in my wall pieces. For example, carpenters often discard the ends of wood planks that they use. I collected these and created a piece out of these leftovers.
“My most recent piece is part of a series I am doing about musical celebrities and this one focuses on Michael Jackson’s portrait.”
While Hussain’s art is mostly self-taught and a far cry from hospitality, Tejbir and Sudeep have found ways to intermingle their professional training with their artistic expression.
Both are trained architects and their art heavily emphasises geometric forms. Sudeep, who was born and brought up in a family of self-taught artists, was encouraged by his sculptor-painter father from a young age to express his daily life through sketches, advising him to get into the routine of drawing one sketch every single day.
In this exhibition, Sudeep, who has lived in Bahrain for the last 11 years and worked as an architect, painter and metal sculptor for the last 17 years aims to identify the form of an experience and execut it into a three-dimensional abstract experience.
While hailing from a similar professional background, Tejbir’s artistic expression is completely different, focusing on the built environment of city dwellers. The father of two sprinkles his artistic process around his busy daily life and also likes to showcase cityscapes and architecturally-focused aerial views of the many cities he has visited.
He has been chosen as “Best Artist-Middle East (Mixed Media)” by Destig magazine for 2018. One of his paintings Rest @ Piccadilly was chosen as one of the ten finalists in ART BOX art exhibition in New York in March this year. He has also participated in Art fairs in New York and Miami and has also been featured in various art magazines and journals like Circle Arts, Aesthetica and Bahrain Arts.
In this exhibition, two of his standout pieces are sketches of the same street, but while one shows the lines and architectural features precisely, the other has “A Street in Muharraq” written in Arabic calligraphy worked into the entire piece.
His recent exhibition at Nehru Centre London titled From an Architect’s Travelogue, featured urban landscapes from his travels all over the world. These mirror his inspiration as well as his fascination with architectural heritage & the urban fabric of cities.
Tejbir said: “The professional part of my training shows in my art pieces and the subjects tend to overlap. In addition, I am very fond of heritage, particularly Bahraini heritage. Any kind of built environment I am drawn towards, I like to put down to paper or canvas using mixed media, with my markers generally being the common theme.
“I like to paint in the early mornings. It’s the most peaceful time where there’s few demands on my time, except for my art. And I have been very fortunate in having a supportive family, both in my parents and my wife, even though I sometimes do tend to make a bit of a mess with my paints.”
The exhibition continues until Saturday. Check out Hussain’s work: @alnoaimihussain, Sudeep’s art: @sudeep_deshpande3 and Tejbir’s pieces: @tejbirart on Instagram. Follow @ bahrainartgallery to stay up-to-date on upcoming exhibitions.