BIN MATAR HOUSE
1 March 2018
8 October 2017, 7:00pm
Memory of the Place
4:00pm to 7:00pm
The exhibition “SPOTLIGHT SERIES – Nasser Al Yousif” is the first retrospective of the works by Nasser Al Yousif. It follows a chronological format while exploring major themes, iconography and artistic processes. The concept of the SPOTLIGHT SERIES was initiated by the Shaikh Ebrahim Center in 2016 with a small exhibition showcasing four artworks of tremendous power and originality by the Bahraini artist Yaqoob Yousif Qassem. While the driving idea behind the exhibition was to highlight oft forgotten artists of Bahrain’s early modern art movement, the concept behind the SPOTLIGHT SERIES has since matured and evolved.
With the study of the life and artistic production of Nasser Al Yousif, a new chapter in this project has begun. Starting with the twelve works by the artist in the collection of the Bahrain National Museum, over five hundred artworks were catalogued and systematically documented from the collection and with the help of the family of Nasser Al Yousif. The output of this extensive effort is the current retrospective exhibition at the Bin Matar House and the accompanying catalog. Including a specially commissioned essay by Dr Maha Azize Sultan (Lebanese University), artist biography and timelines of the history of Bahrain in the 20th century, together with a fully illustrated catalog section, this publication will be the key reference source on the artist going forward. Published in English and Arabic, the aim is to make this document available to scholars in the field and allow for further research on both the artist and the nature and development of the modern art movement in Bahrain from the 1950s onwards.
Under the academic guidance of Dr Nada Shabout (University of North Texas), a symposium was held at the Shaikh Ebrahim Center on 7 October 2017 with the title “Writing Narratives: Documenting the Art Production of Modern Arab Artists.” Bringing together eight scholars in the field of modern Arab art, the symposium engaged with issues in archiving and documenting the artistic products of Arab modernity and the question of the creation of narratives. The resulting exchange of expertise and best practice should hopefully equip the Shaikh Ebrahim Center, scholars in Bahrain and the region with more knowledge and a network of experts engaged in similar projects going forward.
The aim of the SPOTLIGHT SERIES is to engage in a series of research and documentation projects, iteratively studying the artists that were the pioneers of the modern art movement in Bahrain and producing a library of publications and documents enabling systematic further research.