Communication through art


Somaya Abdulghani’s interest in art stems from her childhood interest in recreating the children’s shows on TV. She now tries to use art to convey positivity. She discusses with BTW her inspirations and experiences.

Tell us briefly about yourself: where you were born, your educational background, etc.

I am a Bahraini artist that never actually studied art, but I have always had an appreciation for it. I only recently started seeing art as a career, however it has always been my passion. It started out as a hobby for me, that gradually grew into something more.

Were you initiated into arts and painting during your childhood?

As a child I always loved the arts. I would watch many children’s art shows on TV, and tried to recreate everything I saw. I also grew up in an environment that highly encouraged creativity. My family would always introduce me to different types of art forms. Whenever we would travel we would always have to visit the many museums and cultural events of whatever city we were at. This deepened my fascination with art.

Who has been your inspiration?

It is not who, but what. The Holy Quran has majorly influenced my work. It is deeply rooted within my personality, and therefore it is only natural that it affects every aspect of my life, including my artwork.

Tell us about the significance of art in your life.

Through art I communicate to people what I have learned from the Holy Quran over the years. The things I have learned have significantly changed my life for the better.  I want to share my knowledge with the audience to improve their quality of life in some way.

What have been the major challenges of your life so far?

One of the major challenges that I go through on a daily basis is time management. The 24 hours I have everyday never seem to be enough for me to accomplish the goals I set out. Knowing that we have such limited time on earth makes me question how much I have accomplished, and how well I have spent my time.

Tell us about your association with Artbab? where did it all start and how?

I took part in ArtBab when it first started in 2015, and have continued to work with them ever since.  I was part of the group that exhibited their work at The Bahrain Art fair, The Victoria and Albert museum, Gallery 8, The Asian Gallery in London, and the ArtBab fair this year. I think it is a great effort to help Bahraini artists showcase their work to a huge audience in and out of Bahrain. It was a great experience, and I look forward to our next collaboration.

What are the different types of painting you do?

I mainly work on collages, mixed media, and photography. However, I always experiment with different methods and techniques. I don’t like to limit myself to a specific category. I like to come up with the concept or idea first, and then I decide which medium is most suitable to convey my message.

Do you feel that a formal training is essential to pursue arts?

To me, the degree is not as important as the knowledge you acquire from it. I personally never got a degree in the visual arts, but I try to educate myself on the subject as much as possible. I sign up for workshops and lectures regularly, I visit as many museums and art exhibitions as possible, and I research thoroughly before I start any project.

Tell us about your experience with Food is Culture.

It was one of the most beautiful and enriching experiences of my career. I got to work with an amazing team. They were all very dedicated and full of unique ideas. I had the chance to face a new challenge, and do something different which was very exciting. My project was interactive so it gave me the chance to view the audience’s reaction, and it was unforgettable.

Have you participated/held exhibitions
in Bahrain or in any other place? Give us a list of the last few.

I was fortunate to have exhibited my work in many different places. A few of the most memorable events include: the opening of ArtBab at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (November 2015), Art Abu Dhabi (October 2015), The Islamopolitan Travelling Exhibition which took my work from Sharjah to Istanbul, Milan, and Eindhoven.

What is your message to the aspiring artists of Bahrain?

My message to the aspiring artists of Bahrain is to keep working, and  keep learning.

“The things I have learned have significantly changed my life for the better.  I want to share my knowledge with the audience to improve their quality of life in some way”