Art Beyond Borders


Art lovers from around the world, head to Bahrain this March to attend the annual celebration of ArtBAB, Art Bahrain Across Borders. ArtBAB will be celebrating its fourth edition this year from 6–10 March. Held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al-Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty the King and President of the Supreme Council for Women, this visual extravaganza is the flagship project of Art Select, the international Bahrain-based art advisory, consultancy and curator of art events.

Bringing together the works of over a 100 established and emerging Bahraini and international artists on one platform, ArtBAB will be a stunning sight. Visitors can also enjoy collections from more than 15 galleries from around the world. In a first, this edition will also be introducing its visitors to the beauty of virtual reality. VR tours of three major museums will be conducted using Vive Pro Headsets. With these VR tours you can explore contemporary Chinese art collections of the French VR Private Museum; the 17th century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces from the Kremer Collection and the millennial VR artwork and other contemporary works from the Khora Contemporary.

A watershed moment at the show will be the launch of ‘Artisans Across Borders’, ArtBAB’s creative revival of the crafts heritage of Bahrain. Working in collaboration with design icon JJ Valaya, the programme seeks to transform Bahrain’s legacy of handicrafts into sought-after luxury acquisitions.

“In the 2019 edition of the fair, we shall explore not just the heritage and legacies that inspire Bahraini contemporary art but also the new directions of art on the global stage,” said Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, Director of the Office of Her Royal Highness Wife of the King of Bahrain, “We see ‘Artisans Across Borders’ as an organic continuation of our growth and have worked closely with our Bahraini craftspeople to give our timeless craft traditions a contemporary designer touch.” She added, “ArtBAB represents the fostering of excellence in the visual arts through exhibitions and educational programmes that serve as catalysts for the future of Bahraini and Middle Eastern Art.”

ArtBAB’s Artisanal Room will showcase dramatic, special limited-edition and bespoke designs with their origins in Bahraini crafts. It is intended to start a conversation about the philosophy of craft and design through stylish interpretations of Bahraini craft pieces that can be retailed at top-end stores.

The talks at ArtBAB will also see a world premiere exploration on Art & Islamic Finance, by Deloitte Art & Finance and Deloitte ME Islamic Finance and Knowledge Centre (IFKC). The Bahrain Fintech Bay will be part of the conversation about the blockchain art market revolution to improve provenance and unlock digital trade routes. Other topics to be tabled include arts philanthropy and arts patronage to empower cultural development in the Arab World and the growth of cultural and educational districts in building a creative economy.

Kaneka Subberwal, Fairs and Programme Director of ArtBAB 2019, said: “We are proud of the unique conversations that we have started about Bahraini art around the world. ArtBAB 2019 looks to be an exciting amalgam of visual treats and exhibits of Bahraini and international art and a stimulating talks programme that will examine cutting-edge trends in collaboration with UNFOLD Art XChange and Rachel Rekkab, Owner of Artem Holdings. More than 40 cultural, fintech, blockchain, AI and VR specialists from 20 countries across the globe are on our speaker panel.

“ArtBAB has enabled a 149% rise in the value of Bahraini art since it started and opened new viewpoints for Bahraini artists,” Kaneka said.

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