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Embracing Diversity Through Arts

Embracing Diversity Through Arts

Crosscurrent:  A Fusion of Art and Culture

By: Nanju Francisco

Manama:  Local, Bahrain-based and international visual artists got together recently in a one-of-a-kind art exhibit titled, “Crosscurrent:  A Fusion of Art and Culture.”

The much-awaited art exhibit was organized by the Filipino Creatives Bahrain (FCB) and held at the Bahrain Financial Harbor in Manama.

Guest of Honour as Her Excellency Shaikha Hala bin Mohammed Al Khalifa. Philippine Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bahrain His Excellency Alfonso A. Ver was also present during the event along with Bahrain Financial Harbor Chief Executive Officer Angus Ampbell.  Special guest artist was Shaikha Marwa bint Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.

The aim of the exhibit was to bring visual artist to the forefront and to show the world that arts know no boundaries. It highlighted the diversity of culture, beliefs and emotion that was reflected through a wide variety of artworks.

The art exhibit featured works from renowned international artists as well as emerging Bahrain-based artists from across the region.

Artworks of highly respected respected Shaikha Marwa bint Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Abbas Al Mosawi and many other inspiring and creative people were featured in this art exhibit.


One of the highlights of the event was a film showing by Filipino Film Director and Cinematographer Emmanuel Joseph “EJ” M. Reyes who graduated from Full Sail University in Florida, USA. This was the first time that a film showing was held together with the art exhibit.

The exhibit also featured budding and young artists as well who have shown exemplified talent and creativity. This event was a venue to spread inspiration to all people, young and old from all walks of life. Through this exhibit, the artists hoped to spread positivity in spite of the current worldwide crisis.

The preparation period took at least three months. The exhibit was originally slated March 1-15, 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to December.

Forty-three visual artists participated in this exhibit namely: Aileen Cataneo-Amado (painting), Alberto Magsuci (painting), Angellei Padua (digital art), Aren Salazar (painting),  Blue Ronquillo (painting), Butch Paje (painting) and installation arts; Carla Davis (painting), Carlo Rico (painting), Catherine Paje (painting), Christine Eleanor (painting), Cris Escaros (painting and sculpture), EJ Reyes (film), Faarni Sindatoc, Jie Refugio, K.B. Calvelo, Karlo Angelo Papa, Kathrina Ragadi, Lanne Cabaraca, Maria Carmella Solido, Newlife “Sarah” Macarambon, Oriole Palacio, Rod Masanque, Rudy Perey.

Guest Artists include: Shaikha Marwa bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa, Abbas Almosawi (Bahrain), Ashraf Jawahery (Bahrain), Ebtihaj Kakhroo (Bahraini), Ella Prakash (India), Eman Aljunaid (Bahrain), Hadiya Aljamea (Saudi Arabia), Hamed Al Bosta (Bahrain), Huda Alalawi (Bahrain), Hussain Milad (Bahrain), Inger Nordlund (Sweden), Irina Averinos (Jordan), Irina Kotova (Russia), Jacqueline De Freitas (United Kingdom), Maria Esther Puentes (Venezuela), Maryam Mousakhani (Bahrain), Najla Hoss (Lebanon), Sana Al Borshaid (Bahrain), Sarah Rheeders (South Africa) and Shahrazad Alsaie (Oman).

Fresh from the hugely successful “Crosscurrent:  A Fusion of Art and Culture”, Catherine Paje, one of the featured artists and a member of the organizing committee spoke to, and gave us a glimpse of what the art exhibit was all about and how they overcame all challenges in order to pursue their dream and push through with the art exhibit.

“Crosscurrent Art Exhibit is being held in order to spread inspiration and hope in a time of a pandemic crisis. It is for people who are not just art enthusiasts but for people from all walks of life. It aims to embrace diversity through arts,” she stated.

According to Catherine, the biggest challenge they face in organizing the exhibit was “lack of funding.”

“Being a non-stock, non-profit organization, we relied on the sponsors and patron of arts in order to come up with a grand event like this. It was not easy. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic that badly affected all businesses and the lifestyle of people,” Catherine explained.

“A lot of people thought that this art exhibit will no longer materialize but the organizer, Filipino Creatives Bahrain, has a strong will to just wait for the right time. And this is the right time they are waiting for. Many questioned why we are in a hurry, that there is still the pandemic, and why not wait for next year. For us, 2020 is still the year for the Crosscurrent,” she said.

Catherine added that this event was a “dream” for the organizing committee. Gathering 43 artists from different countries and culture in one art exhibition, masters of Arts to emerging artists has always been a dream for them. They devoted their time and energy to this event and the result was a huge success for the art exhibit, organizers and participants.

“We received a lot of positive feedbacks not just from different artists and artists’ groups but also from various sectors. They asked us, ‘How did you do it? How did you come up with this event?” And one of the most beautiful comments we heard is, ‘They can consider Bahrain now as back and ready to holding events because of the Crosscurrent Art Exhibit’s success,” Catherine concluded.