Night falls early these days. Shyly getting through Muharraq’s dark streets to Jamsheer house. It was the opening of Abbas Almosawi and Ghasan Muhsen‘s exhibitions. The fully lit courtyard was fraught with activity. Public figures like the French and German ambassadors mingled with anonymous art lovers; all admiring these two famous artists’ works.

Alain Michel, a French chef was brought in specially to provide catering for the event. Fine French dishes and Arabic Fine art, what else?

It was our second time meeting Abbas. An eccentric and respected painter who accepted to cast his delicate eyes onto Jamsheer house and reveal through that, all his talent. Shahnaz was in love with his paintings. There is light in his paints, she said. There is joy and suave colors. Jamsheer house was already a special place for her, thanks to Abbas it became paradise. The paintings talked to her.

Unreason is exhilarating! A young Saudi teacher we met that night would have concurred.  She drove us into her much fascinating vicissitudes. A talk we are not about to forget. Struggle and humor are often not great bed partners.

Another day and another ride. This time it was with a photographer. Camille Zakharia, Lebanese native, Canadian national is a serial prize winner. Middle-East, Europe and the US are his playground. Just let Camille express himself and you’ll travel the World and back through his Medium Format camera’s lens: Camille’s Twenty thousand leagues around the Globe.

He is not only one of his generation’s most talented photographers; he also gives Melchior some precious advices.

That day he took Melchior for a ride. That kind of passionate ride in Manama’s streets, analyzing and just taking time to appreciate the surroundings.  On display was the artist’s ability to give you a second chance to look at the most basic constructions from an entirely different perspective. Things you see every day but don’t look at.

We had an amazing talk with Camille, about the compulsions that drive an artist to dedicate his entire life to a single project. Camille, don’t you fear that the artist could lose himself in the process? Being so obsessed, wouldn’t he simply go mad? In other words Camille, when does an artist know to stop a project?

I’ve been obsessed with this question since I got here. Art is new to me.

Ahhh… The artist just knows, you see. He knows when to end it, when he is “replete”. There is a danger, of course, but it’s on a personal dimension. Have you heard of the Becher couple? German nationals, Bernd and Hilla Becher never seemed to be satisfied with industrial buildings and structures until the very end. Bernhard died in 2007.

They spent their entire lives for their project and never lost themselves. The result is simply stunning.

Camille knows very well what he is talking about. Some of his journeys have taken up to 8 years of his life. He even knows that he won’t be able to realize some of the projects he has in mind. Always on the move, this Goliath keeps on looking forward to the next step.

It was time for us to move too. We had an appointment with HuviL again. Step by step this artist is becoming a friend. He even accepted to welcome us in his house. Not that easy to find, but for once Melchior outdid himself and we miraculously arrived at our destination.

Cap screwed on the head, he was waiting outside on the street, with a large smile and a warm welcome.

Sorry for the mess guys, didn’t have time to clean up but we just moved in.

It was not that messy at all apart from his office. And that’s where we found the treasure. HuviL’s own Aladin’s cave. Sprays everywhere – packed, unpacked, littering the floor. We even found a paint can with “Fuck” written on it. Not sure HuviL’s wife was too pleased.

It was the portrait and cityscape photographs’ time. So Melchior released his Large Format once more as I sipped a homemade mango juice, kindly offered by HuviL’s wife. Yeah, I get to enjoy the perks of the job…

He then took us to a spot he loves. Feet in the water, all three of us contemplating the majestic view the bay pompously displayed. As night fell, Melchior had to hurry. Exposure time: 8 minutes! What if a plane or a car comes by? Well the photograph would be ruined…

It did happen at 9’, timer’s time. Timing is also one of many of Melchior’s talents…

The blue arch opens on this nice luminous house. Not any kind though. Ramah Husseini not only lives here, but she also welcomes all kinds of artists willing to exhibit in her place. Surrounded by pieces, she evolves in this space with an unstudied behavior yet disconcerting. Far from being jaded, her longtime passion allows here a subtle judgment and a constant energy.

Always in movement, Ramah’s house displays the works of those who cannot be featured elsewhere. The unknown and anonymous, intimidated by the gallery system, come to her. A lovely haven of candour complemented by skills and flairs.

Ramah is herself a painter. Originally from Saudi and Palestine, she offers her own private Bahraini sanctuary for all the artists to sell their pieces from 2 BD up to 700 BD.

Is she on the verge of creating a movement here?

Time as usual will tell…


Ramah Husseini

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