MANAMA. REFLECTION a solo exhibition by Bahraini artist
Rashid Al Khalifa opened on the 30th of January at the
Bahrain Financial Harbour Fine Arts Gallery with scores of
collectors, VIPs, diplomats, artists and friends who turned out
to view his latest works - a continuity of the ever-expanding
convex series, this time, on high-gloss chrome.
Recognising the chrome paintings’ ability to reflect the
environment and perform alongside the social surface,
Rashid, who has a reputation for creating exciting exhibition
space, kept the spectacular atrium gallery simple to give his
works more space to encourage free association and a
poetic sense of chance.
Showcasing 15 new works, the exhibition wall text and
brochure provided indications to what lay behind the surface.
REFLECTION is a window to Rashid’s soul and this spirit of
openness initiated collaboration.
As an effect of this manifesto of transparency, the gallery was
filled with people busy decoding, understanding and
appreciating the artist’s work while at the same time trying to
make their own interpretations on how they view their
reflection on the chrome-plated convex, and finally concluding
their participation with their favourite painting - the work that
have touched their heart and soul.
One of the big hits of the night was the work “Do you see
anything?” 90 x 90 cm, all-white enamel paint work on top of
two black vertical strips and as the title suggest in all
simplicity and directness, produced a quasi-magic embrace
and communion with its audiences.
Perched in the centre of the room is perhaps the epitome of
reflection: “Going alone.” The 150 x 150 cm, white lacquer-
convex with path-like black enamel paint work that seems like
a vortex that gradually spreads out as it rises to the top -
triggers mental wandering of watching and responds to the
process of collective memory where narratives often emerge.
Equally compelling is “Fragmented” 90 x 90 cm, the first
work in the series has a four-hue, four-section geometric
construction in intervals of alternately yielding and resisting
fields of colour that represent the complex part of a social
field. His intensive colours are as always performatives in
their own right. While this series is based on the reflection
from the convex service, the effect of his colours deliver
analogous intensities and so both reinforce and expand the
And Rashid opens the floodgates of colour in “Fabric of
society” 150 x 150 cm. The artist’s power of beholding
through colour connects modernism’s fixation with colour
and the use of chrome reveals his insouciant embrace of any
kind of material that can suggest the persona that his artwork
is meant to evoke.
As REFLECTION on the mirror-like chrome service inspired
the artist to embrace elusive 'transformational moments’ that
broke down the barriers between artwork and audience, it
could be said that Rashid Al Khalifa has reached a level of
generative specifics in painting that could be described as a
kind of gift, a present to the viewer, and this reason
constitutes a powerful action beyond painting’s
circumscribed boundaries - the kind of art that asks us to
involve ourselves and so we wander in the real and imagined
- one that lives both in the moment and beyond it.