The Making of Nasser Al-Yousif’s Documentary

I’ve finally arrived at the starting point of celebrating my father’s arts career and contributions to the art scene in general. I won’t dwell on why it’s taken me this long to start – a full eleven years since he passed away – other than this is simply the right time for me to do so.

Mahmood Al-Yousif with Bahraini artist Mr Abdulkarim Alorrayed at his home
Mahmood Al-Yousif with Bahraini artist Mr Abdulkarim Alorrayed at his home

The start today was an interview with the godfather of Bahraini art. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have spent time with Mr Abdulkarim Alorrayed at his home this afternoon. He is the first on my list of interviewees for the documentary I’m producing about my late father, Nasser Al-Yousif, who along with Mr Alorrayed, was one of the founders of contemporary art in Bahrain. Mr Alorrayed was also one of my father’s teachers and mentors and had become good friends with him over the years.

Bahraini artist Nasser Al-Yousif
Bahraini artist Nasser Al-Yousif, 1940 – 2006

I believe that the interview was good. It was wide ranging and deep enough to produce several segments for the final documentary. I’m grateful to Mr Alorrayed for taking the time to reflect on a friendship that went over fifty years. His memory of dates, situations and experiences was astounding and enriching. And for that I shall always be very grateful to him.

I’ve identified several influential artists whom I’m going to interview. If you’d like to follow the production along, please subscribe to this blog to receive updates.

I intend to finish this documentary by September 2017, ready for a public launch at my father’s forthcoming retrospective exhibition at the bin Matar House in Muharraq on 13 October 2017 under the auspices of Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research.


  1. AbuRasool

    great news. I am so happy Ito know that Mr. Abdulkarim, my dear primary school teacher, is in such a good shape. With informants like him I am sure your documentary will be an exciting addition to our understanding of a particular period of our history.
    I look forward to watch the documentary on your father’s life, his arts as well as his contributions to social, cultural and political changes in our country. Your father’ generation lived through a period of tumulteous political, social and economic changes that defined the Bahrain we now know.
    Good luck Mahmood!

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      Thank you AbuRasool. It was a real pleasure listening to the history of contemporary art in Bahrain from Mr Abdulkarim Alorrayed. More than that, re-discovering the giant that was my father through the eyes of his compatriots.

      After conducting two interviews (I interviewed Mr Ebrahim BuSaad, another Bahraini art giant, this morning) I know that a single book and a single film will not suffice. The artistic wealth he has left behind should create many of those and also create a good schools and universities curricula. What we’re doing now is only a single step which will hopefully lead to many more to celebrate Nasser Al-Yousif’s contribution to art.

  2. Don Cox

    How about posting a few images of your father’s work ?

    Those of us who live far away from Bahrain have never seen it — nor the work of the other artists you mention.

    Maybe there is a book on art in Bahrain, with coloured reproductions; but I doubt it. If the work is good, there should be.

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