Giving new artists the chance to get their work out there.
If you thought the only stuff happening in Bani Jamra was best avoided, think again and pay a visit to the Anamil gallery, behind Budaiya Post Office, where you’ll find young artist Ramah Al Husseini doing her bit for the local culture scene with a gallery, studio space to hire and even offering classes.
The 24-year-old Saudi studied studio art at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and is passionate about art in all its many forms.
The daughter of artist Maha Alami, whose work is also on display at the gallery, Ramah said: ‘I grew up surrounded by art and have always loved it. Before university I took as many art classes as I could, in fact I’ve been into art for as long as I can remember, it’s my passion.’
But as an unknown artist returning to the region after college, she found it hard to get her work shown so, in September 2012, she decided to open her studio as a gallery.
The pieces from her first solo exhibition pretty much sold out, with 20 percent of her sales going to charity supporting women’s design work in Palestine.
And since then she’s gone from strength to strength mounting her first group exhibition last June with works from around 30 artists packing the exhibition space.
She said: ‘We had pieces everywhere from photography in the stairwell to a whole room devoted to installation ‘The White Box’ by local artist Khaled Almoayed, who garnered strong reactions to his piece which highlighted food wastage by throwing food over volunteers! (www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmMArrRfzF4)
‘We had paintings and pieces in the kitchen and everywhere but I didn’t want to turn anyone away.
‘As an artist, I know how difficult it can be to get your stuff out there which is why I decided to open the gallery and now I want to go forward helping other new and up-and-coming artists to show their work.
‘I’m also happy to offer advice or just ideas, to talk through concepts or whatever it is artists need, I’m here.
‘That’s not to say I don’t want to work with other galleries, I do and I would like to have my work displayed more widely too, perhaps in Dubai.’
In fact Ramah was one of several artists chosen by the Ministry of Culture to design a sail for a display of boats to open the recent Annual Fine Arts Exhibition and her work has been shown at the annual women’s art exhibition at the Art Centre and at the A’ali Shopping Complex art event.
As part of her mission to get young people exposed to art, Ramah offers private classes for children and young adults teaching them how to express themselves and open their minds to lots of different ideas.
And in November she diversified by staging a short film exhibition ‘No Boundaries’ with entries by both Bahraini and international directors and crews, including a group of Canadian-based Arab film makers, which had really good attendance and lots of calls for a repeat.
She’s also branched out into customising shoes and printing T-shirts which are limited editions and on sale both through Anamil and through Bahrain National Museum gift shop – the T-shirts use a screen printing process and she makes only five of each design so you’re not like to see someone else wearing the same thing.
Ramah hopes to stage another group show in the not too far distant future, though participants do get at least three months to come up with their exhibits so it’s not likely to be before the summer. To keep up to date on what she’s up to, visit Anamil on Facebook.