For a country with so few art schools, the Kingdom of Bahrain is filled with painters and sculptors committed to their craft. Taking inspiration from tradition and casting them in contemporary light, Bahraini artists are slowly but gradually gaining traction on the global art stage.
But why isn’t the world more aware of this cultural hub in the Middle East? There needs to be communication, and it starts with Art Bahrain Across Borders (Art BAB), according to its curator Kaneka Subberwal.
It’s a travelling art fair that enjoys royal patronage and government support, and it’s now making its Singapore debut at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The fair aims to bring art out of Bahrain and create cultural exchange between countries. Art BAB has also made rounds in London’s esteemed Saatchi Art Gallery, Gostiny Divor in Moscow and at Paris’ Grand Palais just last month.
The fair here sees more than 70 pieces of work ranging from sculpture, calligraphy and oils from 18 artists. Themed ‘Legacy,’ the fair sets to represent different generations and evolution in Bahrain’s art scene.
Amongst the works are contemporary Arabic calligraphy pieces by Ayman Jaafar and sculptures carved from semi-precious stones by Jamal A. Rahim, whose silkscreen print works are collected by the British Museum and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore. Prices of works range from S$2,000 to S$17,000.
“Art is a part of who the Bahraini people are,” said Subberwal whose fascination with Bahrain’s art culture started a decade ago after a trip there. “It’s not just a phase, which I found was happening across the global art community. It just exists in Bahrain. You can’t take it from them. Art to the Bahraini is like an existing nerve.”
Art Bahrain Across Borders concludes its Singapore exhibition on 27th October, 2018.