The 4th edition of the Middle East’s youngest and most promising art fair will take place from March 6 to 10 at the Bahrain Exhibitions & Convention Centre.


IN 2019, THE THEME OF the exhibition will be ‘Legacies’ which will explore the nearly 50 year-old Bahraini contemporary art scene and its foundation in the Kingdom’s rich art heritage. Kaneka Subberwal, Fairs and Programme Director of ArtBAB 2019, said: “The art fair’s 2019 edition would be an exciting amalgam of Bahraini art and cutting-edge trends discussed during the conference. This year, in a first for the region, ArtBAB will take visitors beyond the canvases of the gifted artists of Bahrain and the gallerists who bring some of the famous contemporary artworks to showcase at the fair and take them not just across borders but across time-frames too.” At the same time, the exhibition is pushing boundaries and will offer visitors a truly multi-layered and multi-dimensional experience through exposure to a Virtual Reality Corner that allows exploration of some of the world’s leading private museums and a diverse Speaker’s Programme that will bring together art foundations, cultural districts and museums with fintech, blockchain, AI and VR specialists.

“We are proud of the unique conversations that we have started about Bahraini art around the world – in 2018 alone, our supporting project Artists Across Borders has taken 25 Bahraini artists to Paris, Moscow, Singapore and the U.K.,” said Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, Director of the Office of Her Royal Highness Wife of the King of Bahrain. “In the 2019 edition of the Fair, we shall explore not just the heritage and legacies that inspire Bahraini contemporary art but also the new directions of art on the global stage. We shall also have a beautifully curated Artisanal Room featuring special installations and large masterpieces rooted in the traditional skills of Bahraini crafts heritage.” In its effort to decode the intersection between art, culture and technology, ArtBAB 2019 will host an impressive array of speakers through a series of panel discussions, debates and interviews.

Kaneka added: “Our Virtual Corner at ArtBAB 2019 truly takes the art experience beyond borders – the public will be able to have three different VR experiences using Vive Pro Headsets and literally ‘touch’ celebrated contemporary Chinese art collections, 17th century Dutch and Flemish masterpieces as well as millennial VR artwork.”

Another major impactful move from ArtBAB 2019 will be the redefining of Bahrain’s rich crafts heritage through a contemporary design input. Visitors can view large modern installations of Bahraini crafts seen from a fresh perspective and explore chic, contemporary modernized Bahraini crafts that will take to the world a new portrait of Bahrain as a country which is open to contemporary thought and where the timeless old traditions adapt to new thought without losing their essence.

“We have taken the talent and the historical memory of craftsmanship that sustains Bahrain’s crafts, passed it through the prism of contemporary sensibility and created a chic, artbased version of Bahraini craft pieces that will have global appeal,” Kaneka explained. “We have applied the same skills and rules but to create very different things. We believe that our ‘Artisans Across Borders’ initiative will open new creative channels and is an important step in nurturing a sustainable economy for the creative energy of the Kingdom, making the arts and crafts relevant in the new millennium.”

GO: Visit for the full programme and more information.