Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB) opens in March as the Arabian island kingdom seeks to become a major culture powerhouse in the Middle East

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Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB), an ambitious art fair that aims to enhance2Bahrain’s position as a regional arts hub

Under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty the King of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council for Women, Tamkeen proudly announces Art Bahrain Across Borders (ArtBAB), an ambitious art fair that aims to enhance2Bahrain’s position as a regional arts hub, and stimulate investment and economic activity in this flourishing sector. This is the international art fair’s second edition. In 2015, the fair took place under the Art Bahrain brand name.

Tamkeen, Bahrain’s economic development agency, has appointed Art Select, the international art investment and consultancy, to organize and manage the fair to be held 22-26 March, 2017 at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre.

ArtBAB is a culmination of the Kingdom’s recent success stories in the realm of the arts, and builds on the momentum of last year’s international art exhibition, as well as the success of the more recent Bahraini Artists Across Borders (BAAB) initiative launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum in May.

Even though new to the Middle East’s art scene, and facing competition from established fairs in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the organizers of ArtBAB believe it can cultivate a unique voice and identity in the region’s dynamic and growing art scene. ArtBAB is determined to become a major cultural venue and must-attend destination on the international art circuit.

"We want to position Bahrain as a prime hub for art and education,” said Amal Al Kooheji, Tamkeen’s chief operating officer. “This exhibition is a platform for nascent culture entrepreneurs, budding artists, as well as Bahraini galleries and homegrown creatives to showcase their talents to the international audience, to learn from renowned names and to equip them with the resources to expand their skills and gain international recognition.’’

ArtBAB is a key part of Tamkeen’s strategic focus of analysing the needs and growth potential of specific economic sectors and providing tailored solutions to fuel their development. Mrs. Al Kooheji added that, “Bahrain’s art sector is emerging into a viable industry with great potential to become an engine of economic growth. Until recently this sector did not receive the required attention and through initiatives such as Art BAB, we hope to steer it into new heights, inspiring entrepreneurship, art education and local skills development.”

ArtBAB bridges the local and global art communities, and providing a stage for learning, engagement and the exchange of ideas. The exhibition will host participants from Bahrain, as well as reputed names from the region and from across the world.

Key features will include a BAAB Pavilion exclusive to 30 Bahraini artists to be selected by an international jury following submissions; a Gallery Arena to host up to 35 international and Bahraini galleries; an International Artists Pavilion to display the works of participating artists from across the world; and an art book shop and art merchandising and design section. A specially designed art and educational program titled, ‘Talks@ArtBAB,’ will also run parallel to the exhibition comprising talks by key artists and panel discussions.

Mrs. Kaneka Subberwal, founder of Art Select, said, ``ArtBAB will leave a positive imprint on Bahrain’s art sector and help local artists position themselves within the international arts community and gain recognition. The Middle East’s art industry is going through a transformation, and despite the economic slowdown we have witnessed positive movement dueto the vast talent that exists here. ArtBAB is a catalyst to stimulating the local arts scene, encouraging investment and most importantly, helping nurture the next generation of Bahraini artists to take the industry forward.”

-Ends-

Notes for Editors

Kaneka Subberwal
Mrs Subberwal is an art advisor, entrepreneur, and expert in Middle Eastern art. She began working in
Bahrain in 2008 with her art consultancy firm, Art Select.In 2015, she co-founded ArtBahrain, the kingdom’s
international art fair, and she is also founder of Bahrain Art Across Borders (BAAB), which acts as a conduit
between Bahraini artists and the international artcommunity. Her goal is to create a common space for
galleries and artists from around the globe to connect with collectors and art aficionados, especially to encourage Bahrain and neighbouring Arab states to invest in and promote their contemporary artists.

Tamkeen
Tamkeen is a semi-government organization in Bahrain established in 2006 under Law Number (57) as part of the
country’s national reform initiatives, with the task of making the private sector as the key driver of sustainable economic development. Underpinned by 3 strategic pillars – enhancing quality, serving customers, and achieving results - the organization provides an integrated range of programs to create a solid foundation for a modern economy.

Amal Ishaq Kooheji
As Tamkeen’s chief operating officer Ms Kooheji supervises programmes that empower Bahrainis by providing them with grants, financing, and professional certification to advance both individuals and private sector enterprises. She manages a project portfolio worth over BD 93 million ($246 million USD), and has more than 22 years of experience in the field of training and development, serving both the public and private sectors.

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