The showcase, entitled The Shirt of Absence, in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Baca), features more than 100 paintings on paper, canvas and mixed media, along with bronze sculptural works at the Centre located near the National Museum.
This exhibition, which was opened by Farah Mattar, Baca’s director of culture and arts, is a tribute to the 55-year-old visual artist for clinching second place in the 48th edition of Bahrain Annual Fine Arts Exhibition last year … which meant more to him than anyone can imagine.
“I’m honoured to feature my collection of artworks,” said Ahmed, who won several accolades over the years and was the president of the Bahrain Contemporary Art Society from 2018 to 2020. His last solo exhibition was in 2022 in Tangiers, Morocco.
“My exhibition reflects the ordeal of loss that a person can go through as well as the personal experience that I’ve experienced. As a result of a sudden shock in my life, it changed the way I presented my work from previous exhibitions. I’ve added works of audacity to the mix that have a sense and feeling to hopefully reach the recipient with different interpretations.”
As the expressive artist told the GulfWeekly, many from the cultural community are aware of his tragic loss that shook him and his family to the core.
“All those who know me, know my story,” he said. “I lost my son Yousif, who was only 18, from what we suspect was a heart attack. He was very athletic and was a weightlifter with the federation. It was so unexpected that it took me a lot of time to process.”
He is considered a ‘third generation’ Bahraini artist that has exhibited locally and abroad. He has always been inspired by iconic women, as well as human rights and nature. However, this exhibition features his pain.
He used an array of mediums in his artwork including ink, candle wax, rust, seashells, different pastes and acrylics, oil and water colour, alongside collage.
“My works vary this time in style, technique and colours, as they were completed during different periods of my life and in places far apart between Bahrain, France, Morocco. The sculpture in Egypt was completed over a period of two and a half years,” he added. “This is my first display of sculptural works in bronze.
“My Moroccan exhibition also featured just lineaments but this has figures and emotions as well.
“This is my message to all viewers – life is full of joy and is also full of sadness, so why not express it. People run away from sadness and pain but we should embrace it because it is all part of the cycle we call ‘life’.”
He has noticed that the audience felt a ‘different energy’ from this exhibition.
“Perhaps they recognise true honesty and the genuine emotions that I have experienced,” he explained. “Some were very moved by the artwork and that was the feedback I received. It’s an exhibition that has to be attended to be truly felt.”
The exhibition is open daily to visitors, until June 17, from 9am to 8pm.
For details, follow @ahmedananart on Instagram.