Culture vultures are in for a treat with this month's top exhibitions
Time Out Bahrain staff
Haj Harmony Iranian born Jamshid Bayrami is one the world’s most accomplished photojournalists who produced a cover shot for The Economist which has proven one of its most iconic images.
He has extensively covered the Iran-Iraq War and the politics of the Middle East for organisations such as Time, The Economist, Webestan and AFP and has received the UNESCO world prize for photography and the Grand Prize of the Fajr Festival.
His art focuses on social issues, including organised faith, and his forte lies in capturing populaces’ beliefs and rituals.
Bayrami’s 19 images of the Haj pilgrimage, taken in 2006, are some of the most captivating and enthralling bodies of imagery to arrive on the artistic scene. With subtlety, he has depicted the ritual of the Haj and through that has analysed numerous social and political aspects of Islam and its followers. Haj Harmony, La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art until May 20. Call (17 230 123) Bahrain ghosts head to the Hermitage The early Greeks knew Bahrain as Tylos and the story of the afterlife in the island’s former incarnation ‘Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life’ shows around 400 artifacts associated with the cemeteries of the Tylos period (between fourth century BC and the second century AD) in an attempt to reconstruct the episodes of the journey in the afterlife.
The exhibition, which is part of the programme for Manama, Capital of Arab Culture, will be at the National Museum throughout May and will then travel to the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia at the end of June 2012 before it goes to Moscow.
Known for its extremely selective criteria and outstanding exhibitions, the Hermitage’s interest in this exhibition recognises the importance of the findings so it’s one not to miss.
In a bid to link heritage with the wider community, May is Museums Month and there will be guest speakers including the director of the State Hermitage Museum, Prof Mikhail Piotrovsky, and Dr Hans Hinz, president of ICOM (International Council of Museums).
Various events are planned and the Enkiru Bus Museum, a mobile exhibition based on the Tylos display and designed for children aged seven to 11 will be touring the island introducing the rich material culture of the past. For further information check www.manamaculture2012.bh Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life, Bahrain National Museum Hall 8. May 1-31.Call (17 292 977)
Hamza Bounoua at Albareh Galley The works of Bounoua reference ethnicity and identity with colours and calligraphy signs interlaced giving birth to ancient shapes, primary forms and a new form of letters related to the Hurufiya school of art which fuses the traditional and the contemporary, the letter and the sign, in a way that the letter is perceived as an artistic form which does not need to be read.
Inspired by the works of the father of Algerian modern art, Mohammad Kadda, and influenced by nature and its vivid colours while growing-up in the town of Bouira in Algeria, Bounoua expresses his thoughts with shapes and Arabic letters in a meticulously stylized form in a translation known only to him.
Long narrow lines in black, filled with Arabic characters. Cursive or jagged styles where letters are treated like human beings – lying, sleeping, kneeling or upright. In other works his letters are spinning, always upwards, towards the sky. Hamza Bounoua, Albareh Gallery, May 13-June 3. Call (17 717 707).
Dana Prize winner on show The World Beat Café is hosting award-winning Bahraini artist Mariam Haji Al Janahi on Saturday 12 May from 4-6pm. Mariam is interested in exploring the relationship between the impacts of contemporary art practices on classical drawing. She is curious as to whether it is contributing to the extinction of drawing.
Admiring the photographic practice of artist Abdullah Mohammed Al-Khan, she believes he archived an extinct Bahrain therefore she plays with the idea of a hyper-realistic drawing having the ability to record and archive photographs.
She’ll be at the café for the opening of her latest exhibition and there’ll be the chance to meet her and see her work in a new setting. Mariam Haji Al Janahi, World Beat Fitness, May 12-31. Call (17 612 576).