The prominent Bahraini artist reveals his latest exhibition
Time Out Bahrain staff
Tell us about your current work, the Open Your Eyes exhibition. What inspired you to create this? After a couple of years of research and observation, I began to see the world from a new perspective. The knowledge I collected helped to ‘open my eyes’ to a different view – there is a world out there of money, greed and power. I felt a responsibility to portray this, and to show what is really going on behind the curtains. My Open Your Eyes expo will shed some light on many subjects, like brain-washing and the real reasons behind wars.
Will the new exhibition be a big departure for you? How does it relate to your recent typography work? The expo will be a new milestone in my work and style. I’m always experimenting, but this will be a mix of all my previous styles and new ones. It will most definitely have hints of typography, because that is a big part of my art.
A lot of artists use Arabic typography or calligraphy – how would you define your use of it? My use of typography has two sides. The first is using the letters as brushes to paint, not necessarily to read, but my love for Arabic type motion and curves. The other side is reinventing Arabic type to have a double meaning, like my piece ‘Peace Hand’ – here I made the word ‘salaam’, which means peace in Arabic look like the hand sign for peace
What can you tell us about your recent corporate work that has incorporated this, for HP and Puma? I was very fortunate to work for international brands like HP, Puma and Coca-Cola. What’s really exciting about these clients is that I was headhunted by them because of my style and work, plus my online awards. HP were very interested in having my work in their laptops as inspirational desktop wallpaper. They knew my illustration and typography style, and my colorful palette, and they were extremely happy with the results. The Puma project was based on my image manipulation abilities and how I work with real photos. The project was a launch event for the Bahraini national football team jersey, and it included a massive bus wrap design. The Coca-Cola project was for the Haiti earthquake relief charity, and the regional CEO was so happy with the work that he decided to auction it, and it was sold for US$6,600.
What is your preferred medium to work in? I’m always experimenting with styles and techniques. I don’t like to be categorised for a certain style. Because of the diverse design work and branding projects I do, I have to create styles for companies that relate to their vision and message, and I treat my art the same way. The concept and message decide the style, as I always start working on my art because I have a specific message to send.
What do you think of the art scene in Bahrain as a whole? The art scene in Bahrain is on the rise, but I feel it lacks experimentation and guts. Bahraini artists need to come out of their cocoons and explore the vast world of art. I feel it’s mostly very traditional. There is a great amount of talent, but it’s not guided and not supported as much. I believe Bahraini art should push itself beyond its limits to really understand its purpose.
Do you have a single piece of work you are most proud of? I have to say it’s my self portrait, ‘Flying FawazO’. This is like my vision piece of what I would like to be in the art world – an inspiration to everyone and a promoter of peace and colour.
Open Your Eyes is the summer – what do you think will be next? I working on my fashion and lifestyle brand, Bedouin Ninja – it will focus on T-shirt designs that relate to my culture and art, plus lots of merchandising and art products. This will be a collective of all my work. I’m hoping this will be my thumb print on the region’s art and fashion industry. Dates and venue for the Open Your Eyes exhibition will we announced shortly at www.fawazo.com. Also see www.facebook.com/fawaz.alolaiwat