Prince Rashid of Bahrain’s “Art That Mediates Political Disagreements”Edit
Jerusalem, 19 April, 2021 (TPS) -- Internationally-acclaimed artist Sheikh Rashid Al Khalifa from Bahrain’s royal family told TPS, “Creativity and artistic expression are the key to social progress, as they present us with the opportunity to communicate from the heart and speak beyond borders and politics and actually connect as human beings. As artists, we must take advantage of this opportunity to benefit ourselves and our neighbors.”
For the first time, Sheikh Al Khalifa is presenting his work at the Mediterranean Art Biennale in Haifa. This year, in light of the Avraham Accords, the Biennale is also showing pieces by artists from Turkey and Iran, as well as Druze artists from Israel’s own Carmel region.
When was the last time you saw a work of art by a real prince? At the fourth Mediterranean Biennale, which opened about a week and a half ago in Haifa under the name “Living Together – Crossing Borders”, Prince Rashid Al Khalifa, 69, a member of the Bahraini royal family and founder of the Art Society, revolutionized the art scene in his country. In his first interview with the Israeli media, he explains why he chose to present his work in Israel.
“I was invited by Belu-Simion Fainaru, the Israeli artist and curator, to participate in the Mediterranean Biennale, and I offered them a small selection of works that I thought would match their concept. The team then selected two works, ‘Cusp’ (2020) and ‘Spherical Compression in Gray’ (2019). Interestingly, the choice was a joint and collaborative effort, and we all agreed to conform to the Biennale’s overall conception of the exhibition: “Living Together – Crossing Borders”.
Each of these pieces reflects the emotion of much of my later work. They are minimalist in color and texture. ‘Cusp’ is a circular shape made of aluminum and coated in white enamel. In the center of the circle are two delicate grooves in the shape of a crescent. The crescent moon, in many cultures and beliefs, symbolizes new beginnings. ‘Spherical Compression in Gray’ is a gray piece of charcoal that is also imprinted with a circle in the center. When it is located near ‘Cusp’ it is reminiscent of the darkness before the light or the moment before the moon is seen.”
Al Khalifa has held a number of senior government positions and has exhibited at world-renowned exhibitions. Rashid has a 40-year history of artwork in which he combines East and West (he studied in England) and highlights the landscapes of his country.
“I have known Rashid for several years when I would meet him at exhibitions abroad,” says Belu-Simion Fainaru, curator and founder of the Biennale. “He has always expressed interest in Israel and collaborations, and when I approached him he was very happy to present in Israel. It is possible that we will also exhibit art in Bahrain. “
Have you been exposed to Israeli art in the past?
“I am a huge fan of Yaakov Agam’s work and hope to visit his museum in Israel one day. As a collector, I own the work of the Israeli industrial designer, Ron Arad.”
How do you see artistic collaboration between Israel and Bahrain against the backdrop of the peace agreements?
“It is necessary to give artists the opportunity to grow and learn from each other and communicate despite past political tensions or disagreements. Creativity and artistic expression are the key to social progress, as they present us with the opportunity to communicate from the heart and speak beyond borders and politics and actually connect, as human beings. As artists, we must take advantage of this opportunity to benefit ourselves and our neighbors.”