Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of the King of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council for Women, Bahrain’s second contemporary art fair, Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB 2017), to be held at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Conference Centre from 22-26 March, is set to wow visitors with a unique video installation, embracing over half of the exhibitor hall, and showcasing thirty-two international art videos alongside excerpts from Bahraini documentaries.

Like a forest of moving imagery, the ‘Floating World’ installation will feature thirty-two large scale suspended projections – 6 meters wide – screening video films by internationally renowned artists, such as Alice Cattaneo (Italy), Beat Streuli (Switzerland), Cao Fei (China), Cornelia Parker (UK), Cristina Lucas (Spain), Dean Kelland (UK), Ebtisam Abdulaziz (Sharjah), Fiona Banner (UK), Flo Kasearu (Estonia), Gillian Wearing (UK), Graham Gussin (UK), Iv Toshain (Bulgaria), Jan Toomik (Estonia), John Stezaker (UK), Maha Maamoun (Egypt), Marcel Dzama (Canada), Marko Maetamm (Estonia), Michel Francois (Belgium), Ming Wong (Singapore), Neha Chosky (India/USA), Nilbar Gures (Turkey), Raqs (India), Shi Jong (China) and Shimabuku (Japan).

Jonathan Watkins (Director of the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and Chairman of artist selection, ArtBAB International Selection Committee) with support from Alistair Hicks (former Senior Curator at Deutsche Bank for nearly twenty years, author of The Global Art Compass (2014) and a member of the ArtBAB International Selection Committee) will be curating this video exhibition.

Jonathan Watkins, Chairman of artist selection, ArtBAB International Selection Committee, says:

“The idea for Floating World was inspired by Bahrain, and more specifically by the venue itself. The BIECC is an extraordinary place. Vast in size, with windows and skylights that can be easily covered, it’s the perfect environment for large scale video projections. A forest of moving images, we’re turning the fair itself into unforgettable artistic experience; an immersive event like no other. It’s very exciting.”

“Floating World promises to be a key attraction at ArtBAB 2017. Alistair and I are thinking of it as a sea of moving imagery that combines international artist videos with Bahraini documentaries. It is an intriguing foil for the ArtBAB exhibition space which entails a dedicated Bahraini art pavilion, a gallery arena, individual artist stands and a merchandise section with cafes. We are also inviting some of the international artists taking part in Floating World to participate in the educational arts program, [email protected], which will be a vital part of the fair.”

Ms. Kaneka Subberwal, Founder of Art Select and Fair Director of ArtBAB 2017 says:

“We wanted to bring something new to the ArtBAB fair this year, something that would serve to further merge the global arts scene with its local counterparts and the Floating World installation achieves just that. It is a moving theatre that combines the local and global arts worlds; it is a visual stimulant for visitors where they can get a rounded glimpse of what is happening in the global arts world while also feeling the local artistic pulse that is so dominant in Bahrain”.

The Fair will host acclaimed artists and galleries from all corners of the world and has been designed to embrace and highlight excellence in the local arts sector while uniting the local and global art communities and providing a stage for learning, engagement and the exchange of ideas.

ArtBAB 2017 is spearheaded by Tamkeen, Bahrain’s semi-government arm mandated to drive private sector growth, and will be managed and executed by international art investment and consultancy firm Art Select (a brand of Art and Spice).

Dr Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, Chief Executive of Tamkeen says:

“Tamkeen believes that the art sector has gained importance as an engine of economic growth, not only locally but across the region. We want to support this sector through initiatives such as ArtBAB, and we hope to steer the arts sector into new levels. The aim is to inspire the local and regional talent and promote art education and skills development by bridging our local artists with their regional and international counterparts, encourage collaborations and foster learning and development from the exchange of ideas with renowned names in the art field.”

The strategic partners for ArtBAB 2017 are the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibition Authority, the Bahrain Economic Development Board, the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, Gulf Air, the Bahrain Airport Company and Batelco. ArtBAB 2017 provides an ideal platform for art enthusiasts and collectors to meet. It constitutes an international forum that facilitates the exchange of ideas between international and local artists and builds on Bahrain’s reputation as an artistic hub for such events. ArtBAB aims to encourage individuals and companies to invest in the Art Sector and showcase Bahrain’s leading cultural position through its focus on the arts.