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Nine dimensions

May 16 - May 22, 2024
Gulf Weekly Nine dimensions
Gulf Weekly Nine dimensions
Gulf Weekly Nine dimensions
Gulf Weekly Nine dimensions
Gulf Weekly Nine dimensions

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

A unique exhibition immersing art lovers into the creative minds of nine talented contemporary Bahraini and Arab artists is taking centre-stage on the walls of Al Bareh Art Gallery.

The Nine by Nine exhibition, which opened last week and runs until June 5, highlights the work of Bahraini artists Abbas Yousif, Adnan Alahmed, Ali Mubarak, Hassan Alsari, Jamal Al Yousif, Khalid Farhan and Mohammed Almahdi, alongside Emirati Najat Makki and Iraqi Salem Mathkour.

“This innovative show offers a unique experience, granting each featured artist their own dedicated wall space that transforms into a personal, self-contained gallery,” curator Hayfa Aljishi told GulfWeekly.

“As you wander through the exhibition halls, you’ll encounter nine distinct spaces, each one a window into an individual artist’s singular creative universe. Here, viewers can fully immerse themselves in the unique artistic vision and process of each participant. The walls contain a variety of painted murals and sculptural installations.

“Despite the diverse backgrounds, media, and aesthetic approaches of the nine artists, the dedicated wall format celebrates their individuality, allowing each creative voice to resonate independently.”

Hassan, who serves as the Bahrain Arts Society’s exhibition and activities committee head, drew his inspiration for his piece Frida Kahlo from the turbulent artistic and personal life of the illustrious Mexican artist.

His large-scale mixed media on canvas piece pays homage to the artist through details like pictures and canvases as well as colourful abstractions, set against a sunset yellow background.

“I have drawn from her life story since childhood, including the traffic accident that left her bedridden for long periods, and her experience living through recurring tragedies, as she painted the path of life and the features of hope and optimism in her works despite her suffering,” he added.

Meanwhile, sculptor and printmaker Jamal has embodied the paradox of the intrinsic interconnectedness of human beings and their detachment from the sufferings of others in a tactile cast glass and

stainless piece called Fragmented Humanity.

Within a 1.5m diameter steel ring, three shattered yet intact glass face forms reflect what happens when trauma shatters the self without completely disintegrating it.

The six intact faces, facing different directions, symbolise humanity’s indifference to the tragedies of others, while the circular ring represents the perpetual state of fragmentation and reintegration that defines the evolving shifts of identities through life’s journey - from birth to death.

Acclaimed artist Mohammed Almahdi whose works have been featured at the Edge of Arabia Gallery in London, Sotheby’s, Qatar Maritime Symposium and more, took inspiration from a real-life fire in Iraq.

“A fire broke out on September 26, 2023 in a wedding hall in Al Hamdaniya district of Nineveh Governorate in Iraq, resulting in the death of around 122 people and injuring 82 others. I watched the video of this incident... Flames of fire raining down on the heads of the attendees... What caught my attention was the awareness and unawareness, the shock and astonishment and fear!” he explained.

“To commemorate this incident, I present the symbolic work, The Shock, that focuses on the shock amidst the joy.”

For Emirati Najat, the idea of human dignity and honour fascinated her, and although she left hints within her Untitled piece, she wanted each viewer to have their own personal interpretation based on their proximity, inner feeling, and what the work evokes in them.

In Paused Dream, Iraqi Salem paints an image of recurring nostalgia, symbolising it through a boat ride down memory canal.

“This moment is conveyed through a contemporary cinematic montage technique... One memory is summoned that summarises different years of my life, shrinking, swelling, or perhaps fading away... Although it happened only once, it kept on repeating... It is a Sumerian dream,” he explained.

For more details, follow @albarehartgallery on Instagram.

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