At the Heart of Creativity: Gulf Weekly Online

By Naman Arora

Artists and creatives across the island are eagerly awaiting the revitalization of the local art scene post-pandemic as they come together at a collaborative event this weekend.

The ‘Express Yourself Art Fair’ will take place at the El Mercado Shopping Center in Janabiya on Friday and Saturday and will feature works created by 21 local artists.

“The purpose of this art fair is to encourage people to support local artists,” organizer Hussain Darwesh told GulfWeekly. “We also want to broaden the perception of what art can be – we have everyone from designers, painters and jewelry designers to cupcake artists, leatherworkers and even someone who makes scented candles.

“Anything these artists create as a creative outlet is considered art, in my view, and we want to encourage visitors to buy and own some of their work.”

Along with the festival, Hussain will also hold a raffle. They will be a ticket for every dinar spent on works of art.

To add to the excitement, pop culture-themed Harry Potter and Marvel quizzes will be running nightly with vouchers and giveaways provided by local businesses.

The art itself is mostly inspired by pop culture, cartoons and TV shows, but there’s something for everyone in the arts, organizers say.

Sara Mukhtar, 23 (Instagram: @sara_artwork17) creates original artwork as well as fan art inspired by popular TV shows, games and movies, from which she creates bookmarks, stickers and even more.

She sees her art as a constant search for the best way to interpret herself and, whenever possible, she does not like to limit herself to a single style, concept or artistic medium.

Abdulaziz Altourani, 24, (IG: sir.cranialdesigns) will be exhibiting his comic-themed pieces, having also showcased his work at Hussain’s latest art fair late last year.

“I usually work with traditional art using micron pens and professional markers, drawing inspiration from legendary Korean American comic book artist and current DC Comics editor Jim Lee, as well as the late and great “Godfather of fantasy art “Frank Frazetta,” Abdulaziz added.

“My love for art was solidified when I was in Italy at the age of eight and while I was undergoing medical treatment, I only had time, during which art with my father, also an artist, was the perfect escape.”

Meanwhile, Hussain Alnoaimi (IG: @hussainalnoaimiart), 39, has been inspired by music and will present his latest collection, The Sound of Colour.

Hussain Alnoaimi was featured at the Bahrain Jazz Fest in 2021 and is currently creating art incorporating jazz behemoths into his creative process.

“This collection captures the raw emotions a musical legend experiences while being enthralled by his passion,” he added.

“As well as using my usual medium of canvas, I also chose the age-old medium of reclaimed wood, found on the shores of Bahrain’s beaches.

“The natural grains of the wood represent the story of the legend I have chosen to paint. The harmony they created is represented by the drops of paint running down the wood.

One of the fair’s most unique designers, Haneen Alfarwan, 32, (IG:

@whiskersandpotions) considers his cat his muse and makes candles from 100% soy wax, making it a carcinogen-free, clean-burning candle.

Haneen combines her love for cats and candles into eco-friendly, pet-safe candles. She also hopes to raise awareness of animal rights through her designs.

Many of these artists have taken advantage of the pandemic restrictions to dig deeper into their craft and create more pieces, like Nujabaa Bader (IG: @nujabaa), who has used the extra time to further develop her skills.

The 20-year-old college student learned new skills through YouTube, online articles and meeting local artists.

Although she considers herself at the start of her artistic journey, the member of the Contemporary Art Association of Bahrain has created ocean-inspired coasters and plates with resin, hand-painted textured notebooks hand, textured paintings and calligraphy pieces that she will exhibit at the fair.

Meanwhile, others like botanical artist Sol Rañola Lastimado (IG: @succulent_ni_sol) have tended their pieces with care and are eager to find new owners to adopt their ‘babies’.

The 54-year-old artist, who worked at Al Areen Wildlife Park and Reserve for nine years, creates unique botanical arrangements, which she cultivates at home until she is ready to release them to the world .

These six artists will join 15 others, who will be eager to meet more art and pop culture lovers at the art fair.

On Friday, the art festival will run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Saturday, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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