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Uniting the kingdom.

The Al Riwaq Art Space successfully openedits doors to a deluge of art with the country's biggest exhibition of its kindto date, entitled Alwan 338.

The festival, located in the heart ofAdliya's popular eating out destination, was designed to encourage creativityand allow visitors to the island attracted by last weekend's Gulf Air BahrainGrand Prix to also witness an exhibition showcasing Bahrain's unity.

Visiting artist Mo Reda collaborated withartists from across Bahrain to present the exhibition which showcased the workof 23 different talents. One of its main features was the 'I am the Other'exhibition at Bohemia, an abandoned building in the middle of Adliya.

Feras Suroor, 23, a Bahraini AMA studentstudying political science, from Janabiyah, who showcased his artistic talentsat the Bohemia gallery, said: "I've been volunteering with Al Riwaq for threeyears now and for me it was a privilege and a great opportunity to becomeinvolved."

He conveyed a message of peace through hiswork, which looked at the rise and fall of a world he called 'Ferasistan' andurged the community to realise that 'the wounds of yesterday are the strengthsof today'.

He said: "I felt like I hated everyone butthings changed when I started making friends with my so-called enemies and Ibecame shocked at the positive energy around me. It's all about forgiveness."

The 'Al Mahata' (the station) exhibition,located in the Al Riwaq Art Space building, showcased work by two differentartists -- Mohamed Sharkawy and Waheeda Mallulah. 'We are all passengers throughlife', was their simple explanation.

Designed by Sara Kanoo, another element ofthe art exhibition was the park -- an open space transformed into a place torelax for the public. Tala Bashmi, 23, a Bahraini student at NYIT, said: "Itwas created using recycled materials and soft drink bottles filled with plants.Apart from having a green public space to hang out there were film screenings,musical performances, and the cafe had delicious Bahraini food as well.

"The entire Alwan 338 has been such a greatsuccess; a great window to beautifying Bahrain."

Tala showcased her work in 'I am the Other'using video installation as her medium. She added: "I wish people would opentheir eyes and see the bigger picture. I hope the festival encourages people inBahrain to be more creative whether in film, music, or fine arts."

Many of the well-known dining out places inthe vicinity joined in the fun. "I thought the idea of including restaurantsinto the festival was genius. Blaze Burgers had a musical act and Block 338restaurant had a film screening time. It was refreshing to see something likethat in Bahrain. I hope to see more in the future," Nada Faisal, a graphicdesigner and lover of art, said.

Many of the restaurants and surroundingwalls in the area were used as a canvas to create art and revamp the area witha combination of imagination and inspiration. Since its founding in 1998, AlRiwaq's vision has been to promote young people's creativity, providing artistsand the public with a platform to exchange ideas, provoke intellectual debate,promote, inspire and develop creative thinking and nurture culturalaspirations.

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Publication:Gulf Weekly
Geographic Code:7BAHR
Date:Apr 25, 2012
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