The Most Expensive Art Exhibit in Bahrain!

8 Jan, '08

My friend Hameed and I had the good fortune to attend an art exhibit by the world renowned artist Mohammed Omar Khalil at Al-Bareh gallery in Adliya last night.

We both readily confess that we are not art connoisseurs, contrary to popular belief, but we like art. But the collection we witnessed at Al-Bareh was quite a bit away from our artistically beaten path. I guess you can call the art displayed as collages created by the use of different material, stuck on large board covering huge wall areas, which in itself, requires a large home to be displayed in. Or a museum more like.

The artist, who lives in New York and taught my own late father in Aseela in Morocco at one of his workshops, is certainly pure genius. His pieces are vibrant, thought provoking and uses completely ordinary material to create things which are completely out of the ordinary. Little wonder, then, that his work is highly sought after by world-class collectors and is included in the top collections in the world.

One might raise an eye brow when one first sees the price list, but when put in context, they’re not that high really, in fact, they are decidedly good value for money – if you are one of the investment art collectors that is.

I did a few quick calculations which might interest you; they certainly interested me!

  • The average size of the painting (of the 32 exhibited) is 108 x 111 cms
  • Average price is BD14,863 (US$ 39,423)
  • Average price per square centimetre is BD 1.2 (US$ 3.08)
  • Most “value for money” piece exhibited is ‘So What II’ priced at BD 38,000 (US$100,529) and measures 244 x 244 cms
  • While the least value for money piece is ‘The Curse’ priced at BD3,000 (US$ 7,937) and measures 44 x 31 cms
  • As all of those exhibited were produced in 2007, and assuming these are his total production for that year (I know it’s not, it is actually higher), then the artist produced 3 pieces per month, on average
  • If we assume that he started producing these works of art at age 30 and further assume that he will carry on doing so until he is 80, then he could produce 1,600 paintings in his lifetime
  • That possibly means a revenue of BD 23, 780,800 (US$ 63,079,045) over his production lifetime

Pretty useless (and completely unscientific) stats, but it was fun doing them too!

If you have a chance, nip over to Al-Bareh while the exhibit is still on. It will be worth your while. At the very least you can boast to your children that you actually attended an exhibition in Bahrain in 2008 where the total value of the exhibits was BD 475,600 (US$ 1,258,201)!!

Hameed and I did discuss starting a workshop slapping a few pieces of cloth, old metal dustbins and copious amount of washed sand on big canvases in our garages and hoiking them over to a gallery in New York to sell them for insane amounts of dosh, but then we thought better of cutting Mohammed Omar Khalil’s livelyhood.

We’re really good that way. That’s why we’re both Rotarians!

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Comments (4)

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  1. ammaro.com says:

    thats some pretty interesting info and stats there. looking at the sort of revenue coming in, i think im in the wrong business

  2. Redbelt says:

    I have a degree in art from Scotland. I am very tempted to get the pastels out again.

  3. mahmood says:

    Even without the financial incentives, you should.

  4. anasaaa! is it still on??
    i love his work! and inshalla inshalla soon you will see my exhibition 😀 but akeed it wont be as good as this 😳

    thank you for sharing mahmoood

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