Bahrain, ArtBAB 2019

ArtBAB 2019 Kicks Off In Bahrain... With Eyes On Paris In The Summer

By GQ Middle East
07 March 2019
The fair will run till March 10 at the Bahrain Exhibitions & Convention Centre

Art Bahrain Across Borders, one of the regions's youngest and most energetic fairs, got underway on Wednesday,with the oraginisers of the fourth edition of ArtBAB announcing that there will be a Bahraini art focus at the prestigious Paris Biennale in September.

The fair is hosting 16 international galleries from Argentina, Greece, India, France, Belgium, Bulgaria and Saudi Arabia, among others, which will showcase works alongside some of the best local artists.

This year there are 17 artist stands and a BAAB Pavilion of Bahraini contemporary art showcasing 30 artists.

Golden Women – Omar Al Rashed
Golden Women, by Omar Al Rashed

“We are excited about the return of our showcase of Bahraini artists BAAB which has attracted over 100 artists this year,” said Fairs & Programme Director, Kaneka Subberwal, on launching the vent. “Our Selectors’ Panel shall be finalising the artworks that we shall display in the central space at the venue, putting the focus firmly on our Bahraini artists.” 

At the inauguration, Kaneka also announced that ArtBAB had signed an MoU with the organisers of the prestigious La Paris Biennale which will see Bahrain taking centre stage as the “invited country” at the French art fair. The Paris Biennale runs from Friday, September 13, to Tuesday, 17 September, 2019.

“We are proud to announce the next step in our exhilarating journey in taking Bahraini contemporary art across borders and to the world,” Kaneka added.  “According to the agreement, the Biennale shall feature a central Pavilion that will showcase over a 100 works of Bahraini artists. This Pavilion shall be conceived and curated by me and Art Select Programme Manager Tasneem Al Shuroughi, in collaboration with a curatorial team from Paris. We shall also exhibit artefacts and collectibles from our newly launched crafts showcase, The Bahrain Room."

Tenderness, by Mayasa Al Sowaidi

This week, TAG Fine Arts will present a specially curated contemporary cartographic display, featuring beautiful and highly creative maps of Bahrain and the surrounding area by seven international artists. Ewan David Eason’s impressive Mappa Mundi Bahrain is inspired from his series of continents, countries and cities, and draws on his stunning use of gold leaf.  Justine Smith integrates mapping and banknotes in her powerful Money Maps of the World series to explore the role of money in people’s lives and to illustrate key aspects of history and culture. 

Making an return to ArtBAB this year is Bulgarian Art Agency Ltd with artworks by Zurab Tsereteli, renowned Georgian-Russian artist and architect.

Flowers For You, by Zurab Tsereteli

Tsereteli, President of the Russian Academy of Arts, has been at the forefront of Georgian and Russian art for over forty years with works including the 1997 Moscow landmark statue Peter the Great. 

A leading modern and contemporary art gallery from Paris, Galerie Bruno Massa will exhibit artworks by emerging German painter Ursula Schregel and Jordanian artist and photographer Wedad Alnasser,and striking blown glass sculptures by Rudolf Breda. In addition, NK Gallery will travel from Antwerp to display works by acclaimed Belgian artist Didier Mahieu whose works in multiple mediums from painting to film earned him the 1993 Princess Grace International Prize in Contemporary Art. 

Core Art Gallery from Kuala Lumpur and Buenos Aires-based contemporary art gallery Quimera Galeria will contribute to the impressive international line up along with Art Lounge, which aims to spread the work of international artists throughout Portugal.  

ArtBAB 2019 will also feature Zu_Cace, the innovative gallery from Zayed University’s College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, rounding out an impressive international programme with art intersecting from Bahrain and the Gulf with three continents across the globe.

ShaarBanat, by Mashael Al Saei

The 2019 fair sees the return of BAB, Bahrain Across Borders, the platform to showcase Bahraini artists which this year attracted over 100 applicants.  The artists have been selected by an expert curatorial panel, which consists of Amal Khalaf (Projects Curator, Serpentine Galleries, London), Nathalie Anglès (Co-founder and Executive Director of Residency Unlimited, New York), Rebecca Anne Proctor (Editor-in-Chief, Harper’s Bazaar Art Arabia) and Snejana Krasteva (Curator, Garage Museum, Moscow). 

These local artists, who will be exhibiting in the BAB Pavilion, include the youngest winner of Bahrain’s coveted Al Dana Prize Aysha Almoayyed, photographer Marwa Al Khalifa and interdisciplinary designer Othman Khunji. Hala Kaiksow, a prominent Bahraini weaver and designer is creating and exhibiting a work in collaboration with innovative design team Bahraini Danish.

You, by Aysha Al Moayyed

This year’s fair will also see the introduction of Virtual Reality art to the region, with a VR Corner showcasing private VR museums from DSL Collection, The Kremer Collection, and Khora Contemporary. ArtBAB 2019 will host an impressive array of over 40 speakers from 20 countries around the world in a Speakers Programme hosted in partnership with UNFOLD Art XChange.