Alon Zakaim Gallery, Legacy and Memory
September 13 2018
I had the privilege of being part of a show in London at the Alon Zakaim Gallery done by @artbab and curated by the talented Amal Khalaf. It’s was a show about legacy and memory as it relates to our small island. One of the many beautiful things about the show was Amal’s curatorial writing - as such, I have type the Whole thing out for you hear because I think it is worth a read. Especially if you come from your little island.
Standing at any point in Bahrain, you know there is a layer of water beneath the sand that gives Bahrain its name, two seas. And beneath that there is an energy that was sedimented beneath our feet from the lives of creatures past, giving a concrete reality to the idea that capital represents an accumulation of time, labour, value and potential futures. The potential at work in Accumulation share approaches to thinking about time. some works address the movement of human civilization through rapid development. The paintings of Faiqa Al Hassan are inhabited by many human figures inspired by symbols of past civilizations whilst creating new abstracted portraits of society. Taiba Faraj's scale references pearl trading whilst also questioning value in our contemporary economy.
Other works reference a fast-paced present moment, referencing digital technology's effects on our lives such as Othman Khunji's video. A Virtual World. Others are meditations on a life spent in cars from tragedies, dramas, and intimacies of car culture as seen in the work of Aysha Al Moayyed, Salman Al Najem and Mohammed Al Mahdi. Marwa Al Khalifa's Plam 338 series, are a meditation on histories of agriculture and its place in contemporary city culture. reflect the aesthetics of change and progress within multiple modernities and histories of Bahraini society, the development and influence of the oil industry, the growth and decay of an urban centre; and aspirations to progress. The artists in the show span a few generations of Bahrainis who are witnesses to many histories and changing perspectives. What are the material and abstract manifestations of memory? What is the role of memory in reflecting the past? And how might the past influence the future?
If a nation is constructed through collective memory, and a sense of belonging to a set of values, histories, and narratives, then art can be a way in which it is created, shared and also challenged.