Meet the Trailblazing Female Artists of Bahrain

female-artistsI recently wrote an article about the trailblazing female artists of Bahrain for The Establishment. The article was an absolute pleasure to write; I interviewed four of the Bahrain-based artists that most fascinate me – Ramah Al Husseini, Sarah Nabil, Frances Stafford, and Yasmin Sharabi – and tried to capture what I love about the quirky, eclectic movement they are creating.

I’m rushing down the winding alleyways of Adliya, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s funkiest district, on my way to the album launch party for the island’s only homegrown baroque’n’roll band. It’s November, but the evening is warm and jasmine-scented. Groups of people wander streets crowded with cafes, shawarma stands, and bougainvillea-draped villas that look grandiose in the moonlight.

I’m halfway through a whirlwind 24-hour exploration of Bahrain’s dynamic art scene, as seen through the eyes of some of the country’s most talked about young, female creators. Bahrain is the smallest nation in the Middle East—you’ll need to squint at the map and look for the islands off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia to find it—but its influence on history has been tremendous. As the heart of the ancient Dilmun civilization, Bahrain spent millennia as a trade hub, saturated by the ebb and flow of cultures, which left the nation with an eclectic feel unique in the Arabian Gulf.

The Gulf region has made waves in the art world recently, with Qatar building a collection of international masterpieces at such an impressive rate that it has become the world’s largest buyer of contemporary art, and Art Dubai and the Sharjah Biennial making the region a key stop on the international art fair circuit. In the midst of this, Bahrain marches to the beat of its own drummer by balancing an embrace of international arts culture with a celebration of homegrown creative talent—the latter of which has made the country an epicenter of a new art movement.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Adliya // The Nest // Black Anaar

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It’s the first of December but the night is warm and almost humid. Traffic into Adliya is creeping past the Gulf Hotel and my driver suggests it would be quicker if I hop out and cross the road on foot.

I slip out of the car and into the crowds hurrying toward the distant glitter of twinkle lights coming from Al Riwaq’s The Nest. The Nest comprises a street market, live music, art installations, workshops, outdoor film screenings, and more. Designed to foster creativity, enliven Adliya’s public spaces, and bring together diverse creators and small businesses, it is an immersive, magical experience.

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A Taste of Mexico in Bahrain: Cantina Kahlo

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If you were to ask me what my favorite type of food is, I would have to say Mexican food is right up near the top. Along with Arabic food, US Southern food, and Greek food, it’s one of the cuisines that I crave most of all. Which is tough, because good, authentic Mexican food isn’t always easy to find. Luckily, a new restaurant has just opened in Bahrain which is going to make all of our lives a little easier….and tastier…

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Wonder Bahrain: Psychogeography in the Manama Souq

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It isn’t just humid in the Manama souq this evening; the night is saturated with the damp exhalations of the sea and we don’t walk down the streets, we swim. I’m playing tour guide for my friends who are visiting Bahrain and we have come to the souq for an experiment in the ‘undisciplined discipline’ of psychogeography. In other words, we have come to drift.

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Summer Solstice at the Saar Archeological Site

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One of my favorite parts of being a writer is doing research. To write confidently and to fully inhabit the world you are creating for your characters, you have to do the groundwork which can mean reading books, interviewing people, eating certain foods, listening to certain music, anything and everything that might help to paint a fully realized fictional world.

On the summer solstice, that meant spending a magical evening at a 4,000 year old Dilmun temple at one of the world’s largest ancient burial sites.

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Behind the Scenes with Chef Wolfgang Puck

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Have you ever wondered what your favorite celebrity chefs, like Wolfgang Puck, are actually like when they’re hard at work in the kitchen? Have you ever dreamed of asking them all of your perplexing kitchen questions and getting their input on your cooking quandaries? Well, I certainly have!

If you remember, last year I had a foodie dream experience when Chef Wolfgang Puck opened his restaurants at the Bahrain Four Seasons Hotel. I thought nothing could possibly top that…I was wrong! This time, I got to cook side by side with the culinary master himself, getting all of his cooking tips and tricks to pass on to you…

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