© Anas al Shaikh
Bahraini artist Anas al Shaikh, as a child, lived in Saudi Arabia. As an adult later living in Bahrain, memories and nostalgia of this time influenced his installation-with-photography work titled Memory of Memories.

Memory or Memories was exhibited in a garage in one of the less affluent areas of Manama. It was here the memories of his childhood combined his present and the recent history of the Middle East, including the Iran - Iraq war and the war between the Israeli's and Palestinians.

About the image of four men and what looks like a geometry exercise on it, Al Shaikh explains on Universe-In-Universe, "The image reflects our situation in the Arab world. There is an authority looming above us – be it a local ruler or a power from outside the region – to give us orders. We are always being told what to do. On the photos, the men follow with the movement of their arms the military commands '1 2 3 up ... down ...'. I am saying that we are told what we have to think and see, what we are allowed to say, and what we should believe in."

Al Shaikh is considered by many to be the first installation artist in Bahrain. This must be both a thrilling position and a lonely one. Thrilling because carving your own path usually is, and around every turn is something unexpected or untested. Lonely because few would understand - not even family or friends.

Having potentially been the first, Al Shaikh has made the path easier for those that follow, and shown that they also can make their own path and still arrive. It is the latter which I think Al Shaikh is really about.
©Anas al Shaikh

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