Bahraini art movement gains momentum in London

ART SHOW: From left, Janet Rady, Dr. Ebrahim Janahi, RT Hon John Whittingdale, Kaneka Subberwal, Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al-Khalifa and Aissa Deebi at the private launch reception held at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.
Updated 26 May 2016
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Bahraini art movement gains momentum in London

LONDON: Under the Patronage of Bahrain’s Ambassador for the United Kingdom Shaikh Fawaz bin Mohammed, the inaugural BAAB exhibition 2016 kicked off in the heart of London, with 40 unique artworks unveiled during a private launch reception held at the highly-reputed Victoria and Albert Museum. Celebrating Bahrain’s topography, rich culture and traditions, the London collection has been inspired by the first batch of 17 artists of the Bahrain Art Across Borders (BAAB) initiative.

The event also saw the launch of the art catalogue titled BAAB – Bahrain Art Across Borders, featuring all the artists, their profiles and their respective artworks displayed in London.
Commenting on this exclusive event, Tamkeen’s Chief Executive Dr. Ebrahim Mohammed Janahi, stated: “Art and Culture form the cornerstone of any country’s identity and heritage. It also plays a key role in driving forward economic activity, especially as it is one of the primary gateways for anyone who deals with a country.”
BAAB’s London portfolio reflects the strength, originality and tradition of the Bahraini identity through various forms of visual art, such as painting, sculpture and photography, and depicts a range of inspirations from the Arabian horse and its historic place in traditional Arab culture, to ultra-sound scans, religious iconography, and the art of tea. The inaugural group of BAAB artists representing Bahrain in London comprises both established names in the Bahraini art scene as well as emerging talent, with a predominant female presence that throws light on the growing influence of women artists in the Arab world.
Kaneka Subberwal, Founder of Art Select (a brand of Art and Spice), commented, “Bahrain is renowned for its rich history, culture and heritage and this is further manifested in its creative talent. BAAB London is an ideal platform for our Bahraini artists to showcase their vision to a global audience and link them to art collectors and enthusiasts from across the word.”
The BAAB London 2016 exhibition will be relocated to Gallery 8 from Friday where it will stay for nine days, until June 4, 2016.
The artists include Amina Al-Abbasi, Balqees Fakhro, Ebrahim BuSaad, Faika Al-Hassan, Ghada Khunji, Ghassan Muhsin, Hamed Al-Bosta, Jamal Abdul Rahim, Lulwa Al-Khalifa, Marwa Al-Khalifa, Nabeela Al-Khayer, Noof Alrefaei, Omar Al-Rashid, Taiba Faraj, Sumaya Abdulghani, Mayasa Al-Sowaidi and Mariam Fakhro.


Myanmar Buddhist temple now a nirvana for snakes

Updated 18 October 2018
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Myanmar Buddhist temple now a nirvana for snakes

  • ‘People come here because they believe that their prayers will be fulfilled when they ask for something’
  • The mythical ‘naga’ – a Sanskrit word for snake – is a common figure seen in temples throughout Southeast Asia

YANGON: Crossing a bridge to the middle of a lake in Myanmar’s Yangon region, pilgrims arrive at a temple to pin their hopes on the pythons slinking across the temple’s floors and draped across windows.
“People come here because they believe that their prayers will be fulfilled when they ask for something,” said Sandar Thiri, a nun residing at the Baungdawgyoke pagoda – dubbed the “snake temple” by locals.
“The rule is that people can only ask for one thing, not many things,” she said. “Don’t be greedy.”
In the main room of the temple is a tree with figurines of Buddha around it. The serpents move slowly through the branches, their forked tongues darting in and out as they gaze down on the worshippers prostrating themselves.
Many locals regard the presence of the dozens of pythons, some measuring up to two or three meters in length, as a sign of the pagoda’s power.
Win Myint, 45, said he has been coming to Baungdawgyoke since he was a child.
“Now I am older and I come to give offerings, which has made some of my wishes come true.”
Nearby, a monk dozes on a chair with two serpents curled at his feet, their thick bodies holding 1,000-kyat notes (worth about 60 US cents) tucked in between their coils by hopeful visitors. A woman, brave enough to venture close to a python, gently caresses it.
The mythical “naga” – a Sanskrit word for snake – is a common figure seen in temples throughout Southeast Asia, where Buddhist, Hindu and animist influences are intertwined. Nagas are usually carved out of stone and placed at the entrances.
But seeing a live snake slithering among Buddha statues is rare, and for some visitors, that serves as a draw to visit Baungdawgyoke — a short drive southwest of downtown Yangon.
With snakes curled up next to meditating monks, the image is reminiscent of a story in Buddhist mythology when the Buddha sat under a tree to meditate.
According to the legend, as it started to rain, a cobra protected Buddha by fanning its hood wide over his head to act as a shelter.
Nay Myo Thu, a 30-year-old farmer, believes he will receive good fortune by bringing the snakes he finds in his fields to the temple instead of killing them, adhering to a Buddhist belief that all animals are sentient beings that can be reincarnated as humans.
“I don’t want to bring about any misfortune by killing a creature,” Nay Myo Thu said. “Catching and donating the snakes brings me good fortune instead.”