After Nyne x ArtBAB: Nine Minutes with Artists Lobna Al Amin and Ghalia Abdul Jawad

For the latest feature in our After Nyne x ArtBAB series, we meet two artists who are participating in the 2019 edition of the fair.

Born in 1958 in the old city of Muharraq, Lobna Al Amin is a Bahraini artist who sees and lives art as a way to share and transmit childhood memories and an artistic sensitivity. Her work as an ode to heritage and to nature offers a peaceful experience. After studying at the Faculty of Information in Cairo and computer science in the American university in Cairo, she developed her artistic skills by attending several seminars and workshops in Bahrain, Cairo and Switzerland. Since 1989 Lobna’s artworks have travelled the world as she participated in fifty-three group exhibitions.

From East to West, her work has been exhibited in diverse countries and cities in Europe, in the Middle East and in the Gulf. As for solo exhibitions, her art was shown during seven events between Bahrain, Damascus, Paris and Berlin. All through her international experience she has participated in diversified events: national art centers, western and middle-eastern galleries, outdoor exhibitions, international fairs and bienalles, Unesco projects, and thematic exhibitions.

Ghalia Abdul Jawad is a painter and surface pattern designer. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2005 with a BFA in Textile Design.

After interning with world-renowned fashion house, Missoni, after graduating she now focuses on her own practice. She primarily works with acrylic, collage, and experiment with different materials. She is also passionate about recycling, reducing and reusing. She likes to raise awareness on how to help save our planet, and trying to find ways to incorporate it in herart, whether its directly or indirectly.

bUrWAK6QTell us how you came to be involved in ArtBAB 2019.

 LAA: I’ve always been an avid contributor and catalyst to the art scene in Bahrain. Whether through exhibiting my own work or championing the efforts of others. I’ve been keeping an eye on ArtBAB since its launch, and I’ve been impressed by the selection of both local and international artists and the unique manner in which the exhibited works have been curated together. 

GAJ:  I have attended ArtBAB every year since they started in 2016. I was always curious and interested to join. I believe the right time and opportunity comes when they are meant to. I was always encouraged to join by friends, family, as well as some artists who know my work, and take my art seriously. So, in 2018, when I attended the fair, I set a goal back and said that I will apply for the fair in 2019.  I made sure that I applied on time and was very pleased to have been chosen.

What did you know about ArtBAB before you came to be involved in it?

LAA: I was aware of ArtBAB in a general sense. I knew the art fair focused on bringing together international artists from around the world and with talented local Bahraini artists, and it was under the patronage of HRH Princess Sabeeka Al Khalifa, of the supreme council for woman and with the help of Tamkeen.

GAJ: I was impressed to know about ArtBAB when it was first introduced in 2016, since it is a great opportunity and initiative from The Supreme Council for Women and Tamkeen to sponsor artists. There are many talented artists in Bahrain, spanning across different age groups and backgrounds that are yet to be ‘discovered’. Artists can apply and if their work qualifies they are supported by the different parties, they can display their work at the exhibition, and that creates more opportunities for them as artists to be exposed to the local community as well as galleries and contacts from abroad.

How would you describe the essence of your practice as an artist?

LAA: I’ve been influenced and moved by a multitude of muses and inspirations to produce my art in the past. Most recently, travel has been my most effective creative trigger of choice. It could be the change of scenery, the distance from my routine, or the space to turn inward and introspect.  

GAJ: I would have to say my essence as an artist is reflected in my work which is free and “childlike”.  I don’t take myself too seriously – I am curious, always searching for new techniques, a new subject matter, and enjoying the process.  By process I mean the actual painting, drawing, cutting, gluing, whatever it is that I’m engaged in the moment.  I’m always fully immersed in my work and not necessarily thinking of the outcome but feeling and sensing what it is I am doing. But of course I do day dream and go to another world at times.

What can you tell us about the works you’re showing at ArtBAB?

LAA: This year all my paintings were created in Asilah, Morocco during my spring and summer visits. I have painted according to the feeling I got while I was there, taking heed of whimsy and the in-the-moment-ness. Surrounded by the beautiful blue skies, sea and its beautifully textured weathered walls. I’ve named this collection ‘Breeze of Asilah’ in tribute. 

GAJ: The pieces that have been selected all depict women and they all have in common the essence of what it is to be a woman. To me the female embodies love, beauty, as well as strength and power.

What does it mean to you to be included in the line-up of ArtBAB 2019?

LAA: Being part of ArtBAB enables Bahraini artists to be primed for recognition and favorable exposure. It also gives Bahraini artists the opportunity to exhibit their work outside of Bahrain when hosted by the team abroad. 

GAJ: I am very grateful to be a part of this exhibition and hopeful that it will open more doors to meet different artists and people with similar interests. It’s exciting to share my work with a wider audience, and get feedback on my work. I am optimistic that my involvement in ArtBAB will propel me forwards in the right direction and create opportunities for me to be involved in new projects and collaborations.

Header image: Lobna Al Amin, A Breeze from Asilah, 2018.

Article image: Ghalia Abdul Jawad, Lady Venus, 2018