Bahrain's art scene might be small, but what it lacks in dimensions, it makes up for dynamism
Time Out Bahrain staff
For most art galleries, renovations are a time to shut up shop and turf out the gallery goers. But Al Riwaq Gallery, one of Bahrain’s most prominent champions of local artists, is not like most galleries. After closing their Seef gallery and shifting back to the artistic hub of Adliya, the refit of the gallery space did little to dampen the spark of creativity. Erecting a superficial wall outside the gallery on Adliya’s pedestrianised zone, eight local artists have been given the opportunity to make their mark on the giant canvas.
A spokeswoman for the gallery said, ‘The idea is to give exposure to Bahraini artists in their own country. To be presenting work even when we are under renovation, is important to them – not least because this is a busy pedestrian area and we have had crowds gathering outside watching them paint.’ Each of the eight artists is given an evening to paint (they usually begin around 6pm on Friday – many of them work well into the night), and the result is displayed for exactly a week before being blanked out with white paint to make way for the next artist.
Launched on September 19, at the time of writing four artists had exhibited their ephemeral artwork. The last artist, Maha Al Shahaf, will begin painting on Friday November 6, with the wall expected to be demolished roughly a week later. Al Riwaq Gallery will re-open on November 23, with a solo exhibition from Waheeda Malullah, one of the eight painting the wall.
The spokeswoman said, ‘We are giving artists a unique opportunity – there are not many occasions in which artists can paint and exhibit in Bahrain. What we are doing is a very new thing for the country, and this is the first of its kind for Bahrain.’ Going by the permanent crowd that seems entranced by the temporary exhibition, it won’t be the last. For more information, visit www.alriwaqgallery.org.