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Contemporary Curves

3rd exhibition for installation art and new media in Bahrain. Curatorial text, works of all the artists.
By Anas Al-Shaikh | Jan 2006

Has the new image acquired its own culture, and assumed an instrumental role as a tool for shaping reality, values and concepts? How can we face this endless flow of images for incidents, news and stories mostly meant to impact our minds, beliefs, concepts and vision on various events taking place in real life? How can we deal with this flow of images which have been purposefully montaged and controlled by several powers in order to forcefully direct us to believe that all incidents and facts we see in real life are not true, and that our understanding of the values, beliefs, principles and holy matters is nothing but mere delusion and misconceptions that do not warrant any red lines unless we have a permission from every party with interests, power and ability to direct the world, values and concepts as it wishes.

We are in the age of dominating digital images that can always challenge themselves to deny or confirm their existence. These images can go beyond the limits of time, distance and geography through a process of montage where they are mixed and directed in a manner that makes mixed images a language of our contemporary world that is able to remotely control, direct and influence events. They can also shake the basis of many issues in which we believe and turn them into delusion. On the other hand, these images may promote and impose many delusions and misconceptions and turn them into facts that are difficult to challenge, and consequently serve the intents and interests of several powers in the world.

So, how can we, as being interested in the visual arts and their culture, who utilize their language, tools and media, express our visions and define our position towards many crucial issues that greatly affect our understanding of life, values, humanity and beliefs through aesthetic and conceptual changes in the optical status?

How can we also, as being interested in the visual culture, deal with such type of images? Will we deal with them on the grounds that they are so instant, temporal, transient, direct, consumed and transformed that we cannot predict what will happen to them in the future? Or deal with them from the perspective of beauty and idealism away from reality? And as a result of these changes in the optical culture has the streamed picture become able to get rid of us, manage itself, and consequently control us with full dominance and authority serving its own purposes without anybody controls it?

Although the number of previous exhibitions which I organized within the framework of installation art and new media is quite limited (two exhibitions) over a period of no more than three years, and in spite of the limitations in the available resources and the number of participants, these two exhibitions had a fair role in encouraging talented youth to try different contemporary approaches that are rather new for most of them. The two exhibitions allowed some of them (Hanadi Al Ghanim, Mohsen Ghareeb and Waheeda Malullah) to participate and make a distinguished achievement in the area of local fine arts. This urged one of the most important international art sites issued from Germany, namely Universes in Universes - Worlds of Art, to highlight the experience of Waheeda Malullah and her achievements in the previous two exhibitions. As a result, Mrs. Bayan Kanoo, owner of Al-Riwaq Art Gallery, encouraged her by providing patronage for a short artistic scholarship (an artist's residency) for forty days in Cairo, Egypt, in coordination with other art galleries and foundations. In addition, she will have some important participation in some foreign countries in the near future.

The four new participants in this exhibition (Shatha Alwadi, Hassan Alhaiki, Noor Al-Bastaki and Karima Zuhair) are undergoing their first experience with. In the workshop, which I organized for a group of the members of Photography Club at the University of Bahrain under the theme (Contemporary Angles 2) I found many energetic promising talents among the youth that need someone to guide and show more care for them. The workshop allowed many students to show various ideas, some of which were really good while the others still need development. Some of those new participants made distinguished achievements in the Second Arab European Photography Festival in Hamburg, Germany. Karima Zuhair won the golden prize for artistic works. She completed her work through the final project of the workshop (Contemporary Angles 2). Hence, the workshop encouraged her to materialize her thoughts, and to express her talent and visions in different concepts and methods, and this will allow her to achieve more distinguished and obvious participation in the near future. Noor Al-Bastaki also won a prize on traditional and tourist photography in the same exhibition. All this can be attributed to the interest and support, which the Photography Club of the University of Bahrain is showing for its members so that they may participate with their artistic production both inside and outside the Kingdom of Bahrain.


Anas Al-Shaikh

Architect and artist; initiated in 2002 the exhibitions for installation art in Bahrain; lives there.

(Published in the exhibition catalogue)

Contemporary Curves
3rd Group Exhibition for Installation Art & New Media
12 - 22 December 2005

Al Riwaq Art Gallery

3 Osama bin Zaid Ave

Anas Al-Shaikh

Hassan Alhaiki
Noor Al-Bastaki
Hanadi Al Ghanim
Mohsen Ghareeb
Waheeda Malullah
Anas Al-Shaikh
Shatha Al-Wadi
Karima Zuhair

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