Cultural Friday

We’re quite fortunate in Bahrain that we have a number of art galleries and exhibitions, so it’s easy to get in touch with various works of art and artists. It is even better that a number of private art galleries scour the world for interesting pieces to bring to the Bahraini connoisseur or collector, more importantly, these galleries actually play another very important role and that is the rapprochement of cultures thus literally bringing sometimes disparate peoples together either through personal contact or through the exhibited art.

I cannot remember a single week for the past few years devoid of such experiences, be they done in public or private art galleries. It is almost exactly the same in the music scene, although those need to increase in frequency and quality.

My wife and I were fortunate today to visit one of the leading private art galleries in town: Dar Al-Bareh who were hosting an exhibition of sculptures, textiles and furniture from Zimbabwe for the second year running.

I’ve always admired art in many of its forms, but sculpture is probably the most fascinating! It’s a touchable and caressable 3D form that leaves you in awe. Stone sculptures more than any other I think makes you marvel at the artist who can first of all see a shape in a rock, and then toils at it to bring that shape out into almost a living thing that gives the viewer immense pleasure.

At Dar Al-Bareh there were 170 pieces to admire, and admire you will! The sculptures there are fascinating and awe inspiring and that feeling hits you immediately you walk in the door! The forms exhibited there are a collection of the artistic labours of three generations of artists from the length and breadth Zimbabwe ably collected by Vivienne Prince who travels throughout Zimbabwe for 6 months every year looking for these sculptures in villages and towns and selects what she thinks the best and most representative to exhibit in galleries in Bahrain and Europe for the next 6 months. We have Ms. Hayfa Al-Jishi, the managing director of Dar Al-Bareh, to thank for bringing Vivienne and the Zimbabwean African art to Bahrain.

The exhibition just opened officially last Wednesday and will run until April 29th, 2004. You will do yourself a great favour by visiting, but don’t expect that you will be able to buy any of the sculptures at this late stage, they’re almost all sold! The prices are very reasonable, coupled with the beauty of what is on display, they don’t stay un-owned for long.

Fortunately Frances, Arif and I were banging on the gallery’s doors this morning waiting for it to open together with an American lady who was anxious to go in too.

We couldn’t leave of course without acquiring a few pieces! Frances bought the Sisters sculpture by Colleen Madamombe, while I bought two of Brian Watyoka creations: Wise Lady and Graceful.

Here are a few of the exhibits which jumped up and grabbed us!

Brian Watyoka's Graceful stone sculpture
Brian Watyoka’s Graceful stone sculpture
Brian Watyoka's Wise Lady stone sculpture
Brian Watyoka’s Wise Lady stone sculpture
Colleen Madamombe Sisters stone sculpture
Colleen Madamombe Sisters stone sculpture
Colleen Madamombe Friends stone sculpture
Colleen Madamombe Friends stone sculpture
Collins Masundo Wise Man stone sculpture
Collins Masundo Wise Man stone sculpture
Emmanuel Mutizwa Helping Hand stone sculpture
Emmanuel Mutizwa Helping Hand stone sculpture
Savi Chirwa Lovers stone sculpture
Savi Chirwa Lovers stone sculpture
Stanley Vono Serpant stone sculpture
Stanley Vono Serpant stone sculpture

Contacts: Dar Al-Bareh Art Gallery on +973-1-771 7707
Vivienne Prince website:

I must also tell you that Hayfa is my sister in-law, but that relationship didn’t influence this article at all. As both Frances and I love African art we couldn’t miss going to this exhibition, and this was (unfortunately for us) one of the few times we visited the gallery. Note to self: make sure that you visit every one there from now on!

  • anonymous
    17 January 2005

    Cultural Friday

    Hello Mahmood
    It’s nearly been a year already, gosh, doesn’t time fly fast.
    How are you?
    Thank you so much for the lovely write-up/feature on your website. I’m honoured.
    I’ve added your link to my website.
    Infact I did try to find your site when I returned to Zimbabwe back in September last year, but didn’t succeed and one of my client friends sent me an email with your link on. The power of technology huh? I’m so pleased I found it. It’s beautiful. Thank you again.
    Kind regards

  • mahmood
    18 January 2005

    Re: Cultural Friday

    Hi Vivienne, wonderful to hear from you and thank that friend for forwarding you the link! The sculptures we have are gracing rooms in a new house we bought and they have taken pride of place and rightly so!

    Here they are:

    stone ladies of zimbabwe