The Young and the Creative

Umbrella on Paradise Beach

Andrew Weaver’s Umbrella on Paradise Beach from Between Two Seas

Bahrain may be known for its two-seas – the salty Gulf and the ancient, sweet water; but since I have lived here, I have noticed a third current.  It is an under-current of organic creativity.

Today Bahrain’s “art scene”, officially sponsored since 1983, has been outflanked by Art Dubai.  Eight years ago, this now, annual event was created as one more attraction to draw international tourists.  The organizers have successfully secured the international acclaim they sought.

Still, on this tiny island, I feel a growing wave of creativity.  I sense it is the children of the first generation that went to the West to be educated.  The “second” generation also studied abroad, but not as engineers or doctors.  Uninterested in corporate jobs, they have chosen to follow the heart and to become musicians, photographers, designers, or artists.

Recently, I chatted with Ramah al Husseini and Yasmin Sharabi, two women who have returned home, and who are helping to grow the local art scene.

2013-05-08 11.28.28

Yasmin Sharabi is the curator at the Waterline Gallery.  Like many Bahraini landmarks, it was “previously known as” the Atrium Gallery in the Bahrain Financial Harbor.  Potentially a way to draw visitors into the Financial Harbor’s echoing halls, the gallery‘s brand is undergoing a face-life as it seeks to find its place within the larger, international art scene.

At the Waterline, the RE Exhibit continues.  RE features four artists who recycled materials to relay their observations of human excess while providing a glimmer of hope and innovation.

Last week, I met young artist and gallery operator, Ramah al Husseini who presented her portfolio to a group of art lovers.

yellow house in budaiya

Returning to Bahrain after university in Canada, she decided to open a private gallery that houses an exhibition hall and an art studio.  Located in a twenty-year old, renovated house in Budaiya, like the Waterline Gallery, Anamil 296 is a brand in-progress.  Still, Ramah announced her third exhibit would open this week.

If the waves of creativity continue to wash across this island, I think the fires of despair will be extinguished.

ABOUT ANAMIL 296, JUNE 5TH EXHIBIT
June 5 2013 exhibit opening at Anamil 296 in Bahrain
ABOUT THE WATERLINE GALLERY and RE EXHIBIT

The Waterline Art Gallery, 3rd Floor Atrium, Harbour Mall, Bahrain Financial Harbour.

There is a new entrance into the Financial Harbour at Bab Al Bahrain/Manama City Center.  The Financial Harbour road leads straight to the building, but you will completely circle the Harbor Tower to end up back at the side facing Bab Al Bahrain where the Visitor Parking entrance is located.

After taking the elevator to the third floor, follow the signs to pointing left through the dark offices to enter the gallery.

Say It Ain’t So Giuse Maggi – May 20 and 21 2013 Workshop

The Book of the Truth by Giuse Maggi 2013

Internationally-known, glass artist, Giuse Maggi, like the rest of the world, has turned to plastic.

How did this development come about?

Recycled glass has been the foundation of her work.  Her trademark, glass bottle plates have been a staple at all her shows.  However, after years of wrapping herself in a flame-proof apron and wearing thick gloves and goggles to melt glass in 450 degree heat, she decided to experiment and turned to the most ubiquitous, manmade, material on earth – plastic.  Giuse told me, in her Italian-accent,

“I wanted a material which was not so fra-gile.  I dis-covered how easy plas-tic is to melt and shape.”

The large, hanging piece, she calls “Inner Space” is made out of 6,000 water bottles.  Her other pieces in the RE exhibit include a second, hanging piece made from one hundred, milk cartons; colored, detergent bottle creations; several flowers; and a book fabricated from a countless number of melted, plastic grocery bags.  The pieces are not just about creating beauty from waste, but includes her warning about our consumer society.

Giuse finds plastic to be one of the most useful and easily manipulated materials- offering her endless possibilities. She compulsively cuts, melts, presses and ties … begging us to consider our harsh reality: that 45,000 tons of plastic a year are dumped into our world’s oceans, critically harming marine life.

– from the RE Exhibit.

One strong message is about plastic’s toxicity.

The cancer causing process

In a public discussion, this geologist turned artist said she would never do high heat, plastic melting again.  The plastic, especially the detergent bottles, poisoned her body and literally made her sick.  Weeks after finishing the exhibit, a metallic taste lingers in her mouth.  She tries to extinguish the affect with food and drink, but a few hours after eating, it returns.  She warned heating plastic should only be done in a highly ventilated room or outside.

For re-creating plastic into jewelry, Giuse suggests only using a candle flame.  “It is safer,” she said.

However, her experience makes me wonder about the use of plastics for anything – from the Downey detergent bottles, the clear plastic, cover molded around my new, plastic toothbrush to the millions of plastic toys baby’s insert into their mouths.  Creating plastic products requires a high heat process which sends the fumes into the air.  After its short life in our homes, the dumped plastic takes approximately 1,000 years to break into small bits, allowing its base chemicals to flow into the soil and water systems.

Consumer manufacturers have turned to plastic because, like Giuse, they discovered how easy and cheap it is to mold.  The question becomes – are we trading our clean air for convenience, ease of delivery and the manufacturers’ quarterly profits?

Giuse continues to lecture on recycling plastic.  This week at the Waterline Gallery, she is teaching how to transform our waste into jewelry, creating wearable art using her cold method.

ABOUT THE JEWELRY MAKING EVENT

Artist and teacher Giuse Maggi, will conduct a “RE” jewelry class.  Using recycled plastic and basic tools, you’ll learn how to transform plastic bottles into wearable brooches, hair accessories, bracelets or necklaces.

The workshop will be held for two days – Monday 20th-21st May from 6.00-8.00pm at the Waterline Gallery in the Bahrain Financial Harbor.

The 5BD cost will cover all the tools you will need.

Please confirm your attendance on Facebook or send an email to ysharabi@bfharbour.com

ABOUT THE WATERLINE GALLERY

The Waterline Art Gallery, 3rd Floor Atrium, Harbour Mall, Bahrain Financial Harbour.

There is a new entrance into the Financial Harbour at Bab Al Bahrain/Manama City Center.  The Financial Harbour road leads straight to the building, but you will completely circle the Harbor Tower to end up back at the side facing Bab Al Bahrain where the Visitor Parking entrance is located.

After taking the elevator to the third floor, follow the signs to pointing left through the dark offices to enter the gallery.

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