Having gained its independence from British rule
in 1971, Bahrain is a relatively young nation. An art scene, while similarly young, is not just nascent, rather it has been developing for more than sixty years. The first Bahraini artists to seek art education abroad, ventured to Egypt, Syria and Iraq in the 1960s and later to France and the USA. Based on the work of these pioneers of an independent modern art movement in Bahrain, a growing number of contemporary artists has emerged, seeking to express themselves in newer media. Amongst these, Mariam Haji, Waheeda Malullah and Camille Zakharia have been chosen to represent Bahrain due to their artistic merit. In a context where there is as yet no tradition of breaking with tradition, each artist represents a kind of leadership in the search for innovation and self-questioning in their art practice, which is the foundation of a developing contemporary art scene.
The pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain presents the work of Mariam Haji, Waheeda Malullah and Camille Zakharia in a loose curatorial framework, tied together by the subjective exploration of culture and self that lies at the core of their art practices. With an emphasis on the importance of identity, the pavilion examines the expression of interiority and private meanings in these artists.