Accumulation: Legacy and Memory will bring the best of contemporary and modern art from Bahrain to London for the third edition of Bahrain Art Week in London, from Wednesday 21 – Wednesday 28 November 2018. Showcasing and celebrating Bahrain’s rich history as one of the oldest contemporary cultures in the Middle East, Bahrain Art Week will provide a platform for Bahraini artists to expand their international influence through London’s dynamic art scene, and offer British audiences the chance to learn more about the crafts of the region, and experience the diversity of work currently being produced by Bahraini artists.
Accumulation brings together works by 11 Bahraini artists whose practices address subjective experience, memory, notions of progress and the inevitability of decay. The exhibition is a meditation on the historical legacies of Bahrain from traditional crafts, industry and pop culture to modernism’s forms, including art and architecture. The encounters that unfold through videos, paintings and sculpture draw links between the concepts of legacy, memory and value.
The works reflect the aesthetics of change and progress within multiple modernities and histories of Bahraini society, the development and influence of the oil industry, the growth and decay of an urban centre and aspirations to progress. The artists in the show span a number of generations of Bahrainis who are witnesses to many histories and changing perspectives.
The exhibition will present works by: Aysha Al Moayyed, Hala Kaiksow, Othman Khunji, Balqees Fakhro, Marwa AlKhalifa, Dawiya Al Alawiyat, Faiqa Al Hassan, Mohammed Al Mahdi,
Nabeela Al Khayer, Taiba Faraj and Salman El Najem.
Hala Kaiksow, a finalist for Jameel Prize 5, currently exhibiting at the V&A, is one of the artists featured in the exhibition. Kaiksow is a weaver and designer who incorporates traditional Bahraini craftsmanship with her incredible contemporary designs; we know her designs from the International Fashion Showcase 2016, where she won Best Designer and we won Best Curation in partnership with Starch Foundation, Lebanon. As Bahrain Art Week launched, we caught up with Hala to ask her about the show, her creative process, and about working with the leading curators Amal Khalaf and Kaneka Subberwal.
Hala, tell us about Bahrain Art Week.
Bahrain Art Week is an initiative that promotes Bahraini artists internationally, and gives the artists and their works a platform on a global scale.
Congratulations on your recent exhibition at the V&A. What will you be exhibiting at Accumulation: Legacy and Memory?
In this exhibit I am showing garments from my latest collection ‘Nomas’. This collection is inspired by travellers from the late 16th century. I wanted to create garments that were pieces together and utilized the textiles to their fullest, so nothing goes to waste. I am also performing on the loom and creating a woven piece for my upcoming collection.
Can you tell us about your creative process and what has inspired your work?
I often begin my creative process through visual and historical research of garments and cultures from around the world. I then begin to reinterpret and recontextualize the garments to a contemporary consumer. I love taking traditional crafts and giving them a new life, which is why we often handweave our own textiles, and this season we began quilting and patching some of our garments as well.
How important is it to showcase and celebrate Bahrain’s rich history, particularly in Britain?
It’s been so interesting and rewarding to be able to show my work in the UK. The reception has been so positive, and it brings about such lovely conversations about the making process and ways of creating.
Amal Khalaf is one of the only female curators from Bahrain. How has it been working alongside her and co-curator Kaneka Subberwal?
It’s been a lovely process of collaboration with these two women. It’s so special and rewarding to get to work with women who have been in the art field for so long and to have them guide me in my journey.
Bahrain Art Week runs from 21 November – 28 November 2018, at Alon Zakaim Fine Art, 5-7 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4LD. Free entry.
Follow them on @ArtBAB_bh or find out more on http://artbab.com/
Thanks to Chloe Nelkin Consulting for the interview.
Header Image: Private View – Bahrain Art Week Alon Zakaim (Sam Roberts Photography) (93)