I 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.