The island's creative scene will be given a boost when Art Bahrain returns in October
Art comes naturally to Bahrain,” says ArtBahrain co-founder Kaneka Subberwal, when we ask her about the response to last year’s debut festival. “It is a part of the personality, something Bahrain has grown up with, thus making every Bahraini culturally enriched.”
The inaugural edition hosted nearly 50 participants from 17 countries, with nearly 15,000 visitors over four days. They also raked in a whopping total sales figure of BD170,000.
Works by critically acclaimed artists and galleries from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the Far East and the rest of Asia were featured and introduced diverse techniques from classic acrylic to sculpture, digital photography to new-age installations.
This year, it comes alongside the exciting calendar of events planned by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority to mark Manama Gulf Capital of Tourism 2016, which aims to position the island as a leading hub for arts and culture in the region.
“ArtBahrain will retain its essential niche content, structure and format, however, as we grow we will be adding newer features and diversifying,” says Subberwal, who is also the founder and managing director of art advisory Art Select. She tells us there will be two new artist pavilions, one for international artists and the other for Bahraini talents.
She adds: “Our art lounge is certainly a section to look out for. This year there will be a designated area for our art café, art-related merchandise and consultancy services.”
Even though the 2015 exhibition was successful, it wasn’t without fault, says Subberwal. “After having curated and created 45 to 50 art exhibits in most parts of the Gulf and London, I still feel there is room for improvement... Such a big event always has scope for refining it further and we are committed to bring it on a par with the best art fairs of the world.”
Horse by Marwa bint Rashid Al Khalifa
Painting by Ibrahim Busaad
Ugo Nespolo with his works
Umm Kulthum by Jamal Abdul Rahim
Bambino by Tomassco Arscone – Trade Art Gallery Italy