Under the patronage of HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of the King of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council for Women, Art Bahrain across Borders (ArtBAB) has announced the first edition of the Bahrain Art Week in Paris, France. Curated by ArtBAB Fairs & Programme Director, Kaneka Subberwal and Paris-based art consultant Corinne Timsit, the group show at the prestigious and historic Grand Palais is titled “Legacies & The Contemporary Memory” and showcases 17 Bahraini artists, both established as well as emerging, whose works across varying media, explores their cerebral resilience and maturity and the way Bahraini contemporary art catches the spirit of the Kingdom’s 5, 000 year-old cultural heritage and transforms it with a millennial gaze. Bahrain Art Week in Paris will run from September 13th to 22nd, 2018.
“ArtBAB’s first-ever Bahrain Art Week in Paris, France will take contemporary Bahraini artists and their works to the celebrated centre of the global art movement and we are proud that ArtBAB has grown from strength to strength to achieve this momentum,” said Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, Director of the Office of Her Royal Highness, Wife of the King of Bahrain, “ArtBAB and its supplementary programme Artists Across Borders have been significant catalysts for promoting contemporary Bahraini art. We are confident that ArtBABwill continue to be the platform of conversation between Bahrain and the world for matters of art and creativity.”
The seventeen participating artists are Aysha Almoayyed, Dr. Ahmed Ahmed, Balqees Fakhro, Faika Al Hasan, Hala Kaiksow, Jamal Abdulrahim, Mayasa Alsowaidi, Mohammed Al mahdi, Nabeela Al Khayar, Omar Al Rashid, Othman Khunji, Rawan Al Hosani, Salman Najem, Shaikha Lulwa Al Khalifa, Shaikha Marwa Al Khalifa, Somaya Abdulghani and Syed Hasan Al Asari.
While the exhibition will open at the Grand Palais, there will be an additional public exhibition at the Galerie Rabouan Moussion in the French capital’s Le Marais district, which is the leading art and cultural hub of Paris. For this exhibition, which will run from September 17th until 22nd, one artwork from each artist will be selected for display.
The venues chosen for the Paris shows are reflective of the French capital’s immense influence upon the global art scene. Located in the heart of Paris on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, the Grand Palais is an iconic monument which was built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900 and dedicated “by the French Republic to the glory of French art”. It was designated as a historic monument in 2000. The other venue, the Gallerie Rabouan Moussion on Rue Pastourelle in the Marias,is actually a former theatre which also served for a short time as a lampshade factory. With this grounding in arts as well as utility, the gallery, with its reputation for cutting-edge contemporary exhibitions is a great way for Bahrain’s artists to engage in a cultural conversation with their French peers.
The Paris show space will be designed by scenographer and architectural designer, Sylvie Jodar. The impact will spill over into wider circles also since ArtPremium magazine shall be producing a special national and international Bahrain focussed issue to mark Bahrain Art Week in Paris. The issue will travel as far as ArtBasel Miami 2018 in December this year.
The Paris show is part of a widening circle of overseas engagements for Bahraini artists through the Artists Across Borders programme which has previously taken them to prestigious venues such as the V&A, the Saatchi Gallery and Lancaster House in London, Bikaner House, the India Art Fair and a collaborative show with the Roubel Nagi Foundation in New Delhi and Mumbai, India and COSMOSCOW in Russia. Later this year, ArtBAB Fairs & Programme Director Kaneka Subberwal will be taking the unique Artists Across Borders programme for a second COSMOSCOW showing as well as to the now- much anticipated annual Bahrain Art Week in London.
“Paris, a magnet of the art world is the first 2018 overseas engagement of Artists Across Borders, the project which developed to give Bahraini artists the exposure they deserve beyond the Middle East,” said ArtBAB Fairs & Programme Director Kaneka Subberwal, “Characterized by bold impressionistic abstracts, this collection speaks of how the Bahraini artists visualize their 5,000 year-old heritage of art and culture and transform it into a 21st century narrative through their contemporary practices. Bahraini artists are exploring their cultural identity with confidence and skill and have been increasingly welcomed in art capitals around the world where Art Select presents their especial vision. What is unique to the collection is the physicality of the different media used. These abstracts will allow the art-lover to reflect on the artist’s imagination and enter into an intellectually satisfying discourse with Bahrain’s contemporary persona as a nation.”
She added, “Immediately after the Paris shows, a selection of paintings will travel to London to mark the start of a second stage in the cultural engagement between Bahrain and Europe and the UK.”
One of the key influencers who has propelled the success of ArtBAB with his encouragement is Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chairman of Tamkeen, Bahrain’s change-management agency which is the movement’s Strategic Partner. He said, “Tamkeen’s support for ArtBAB is part of our commitment to skills development. We believe that we owe it to the nation to develop and amplify the creative skills of our Bahraini artists so that they are heard around the world. I believe that Tamkeen’s engagement with ArtBAB is a reflection of the Bahrain government’s goal to push a new narrative of the Kingdom – to tap its ‘soft power’ to tell the story of how we have evolved and retained and grown our civilization.”
Corinne Timsit, Paris-based Art Consultant and co-curator of the Paris show, said she was excited to bring Bahraini art to a Parisienne audience. “I find that Bahraini artists have extraordinary depth in their thought and techniques and a truly ‘borderless’ world view that distills the Middle Eastern vision in the context of global perceptions. I am sure this will be the first of an enduring artistic and cultural dialogue between France and Bahrain.”
The Paris show space will be designed by scenographer and architectural designer, Sylvie Jodar. Both the venues – the Grand Palais and the Galerie Rabouan Moussion – are historic and closely linked to the art scene of the French capital. The impact will spill over into wider circles also since ArtPremium magazine shall be producing a special national and international Bahrain focussed issue to mark Bahrain Art Week in Paris. The issue will travel as far as ArtBasel Miami 2018 in December this year.