Interest is growing in Bahrain’s
contemporary art scene; long-standing galleries are gaining a firm grip on the international art stage, and new, independent galleries are popping up around the Bohemian neighborhood of Adliya
. With a range of annual art-based fairs and festivities alongside exhibition spaces which host a dynamic program of shows and events, there has never been a more inviting time for art-enthusiasts to check out the emerging Bahraini scene.
Albareh Art Gallery
Perhaps the best known art gallery in Bahrain, Albareh Art Gallery opened its doors in 1998 and has continued to grow its reputation ever since. Albareh Art Gallery is constantly on the lookout for undiscovered talents ready to break out into the international world of contemporary art. Exhibitions include paintings, photographs, and sculptures, and the gallery regularly participates in international art fairs to further increase its following. Recent artists to display their work here include Lebanese fine arts painter Annie Kurkdjian, Syrian sculptor Safaa Alset and Bahrainian illustrator and painter Faika AlHassan.
Albareh Art Gallery, Building 38, Road 3601, Area 336, Adliya, Bahrain, +973 1771 7707
Ella Art Gallery
Ella Art Gallery
Ella Prakash directs the Ella Art Gallery and fills it with her own colorful paintings in oils, watercolors, and acrylics. Ella believes in the power of original works to create an atmosphere in a home or blank space that no print ever could. All of Ms. Prakash’s works are for sale both in the shop and through her online art gallery. Paintings on offer include a blend of contemporary, modern and traditional art falling into the genres of still life, decorative arts and figurative arts. Ella is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning artist whose works can be seen in galleries in London, Las Vegas, New York and India.
Al-Jasra Handicraft Centre
For a chance to see how artisans perfect their crafts, visitors can head to Al-Jasra Handicraft Centre. Local women attend the centre daily to work on anything from brightly-colored woven mats, baskets and pottery to expertly crafted musical instruments and boats. Visitors are encouraged to watch how all of these indigenous items are made and staff are more than happy to provide full explanations and answer questions. Craftworks can be bought directly from their maker or from the onsite gift shop. Al-Jasra Handicraft Centre is also one of the few places in Manama easily accessible by public transport with bus number 12 stopping just outside.
Al-Jasra Handicraft Centre, Jasra Village, Manama, Bahrain, +973 1761 1900
Al Riwaq Art Space
With a mission to promote the local art scene and its talents, Al Riwaq Art Space has a year-long calendar of art exhibitions for the public to enjoy. Previous exhibitions have included Tarafa Bin Al Warda, which saw the launch of poet Qassim Hadded’s new book, photographs by Tufool Hadded, and accompanying musical creations by Mohammed Haddad. The gallery also participates in the increasing number of annual art fairs that take place in the country. Al Riwaq Art Space believes in bringing art to the local community and therefore hosts a series of workshops, educational programs and events.
Al Riwaq Art Space, 3 Osama Bin Zaid Avenue, Adliya, Bahrain, +973 1771 7441
La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art
Converted from an antique Bahraini house into a decadent chateau complete with an art center and spa, La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art is an unmissable stop on any art-admirers Bahraini tour. A collection of individual rooms set off of the central courtyard display the works of art. High ceilings and plenty of wall space are perfect for displaying the rotating exhibitions, from traditional works to innovative contemporary delights. Like nowhere else in the Middle East, La Fontaine Centre for Contemporary Art is also home to a yoga and pilates studio, a fine-dining restaurant, an open-air amphitheater, and a spa, making an intended quick visit to the art gallery easily transform into a day-long affair.
La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art, 92 Hoora Avenue, Road 646, Manama, Bahrain, +973 1723 0123
Owned by artist Nadine Al Shaikh, the Nadine Gallery provides a platform for both local and international talent. Exhibitions exhibit a range of multimedia works, and the gallery hosts a series of art workshops and photography classes to encourage the local community to get involved with art and to enable artists to meet one another. Nadine Gallery also hosts the annual Bahraini Female Artists exhibition which features dozens of established local artists each year creating pieces to meet a specific theme. Artists to have exhibited at the gallery include Aziza Salmon, Maysa Althawadi, Jeffly Gabriela Molina and Nouf Al Riffaie.
Nadine Gallery, Building 471, Road 3209, Block 332, Mahooz, Bahrain, +973 7744 2222
Arabesque Art Gallery
Arabesque Art Gallery
Exhibiting primarily works of antique Middle Eastern art, the Arabesque Art Gallery has been showcasing artworks to the public for over forty years. It is famous for its great selection of 19th century lithographs created by David Roberts, its collection of Wahab Al Kooheji’s colorful paintings depicting scenes of everyday life in Bahrain, and for its displays of ancient Arabian maps. The gallery also has a huge collection of silkscreens, prints and original artworks that are available to purchase for those visitors wishing to take a little slice of Bahraini beauty back with them to brighten up their own homes.
The Bahraini Ministry of Culture declared 2014 “Our Year of Art,” and celebrated every second weekend of each month with an Art Attack market in the streets of Bab Al Bahrain. The market is a chance for local artists to showcase their works, promote themselves as talented artists and encourage the local community to take an interest in art themselves. Public exhibitions feature paintings, photographs and sculptures which passers-by can enjoy from afar or choose to buy. The market is accompanied by live music and entertainment, while a great selection of local street food offers a tasty alternative to the featured art and culture activities.