He is one of the region’s most famed artists, with a distinguished career spanning more than four decades – and Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa is certainly not running short of inspiration any time soon. The Bahraini painter and installation artist, who is a member of the Gulf nation’s royal family, is currently exhibiting new works in London’s Saatchi Gallery that explore the concept of shadow and light.
“Penumbra: Textured Shadow, Colored Light” will be hosted in the British capital until October 21, showcasing three-dimensional pieces by the artist in his London solo debut. From works hung on the wall, comprised of multi-hued flaps that create a sense of undulating fluidity, to intricate aluminium pieces boasting a contemporary use of geometry, the exhibition challenges a viewer’s perceptions of space and light. Suspended mobiles and a colossal maze form the cornerstone of the showcase, creating an immersive, urban-influenced experience that Sheikh Rashid reveals was “inspired by winding narrow alleyways and traditional architecture”. “I would like the audience to experience the maze as a conceptual entity – a spiritual journey with no fixed destination,” the artist adds.
The royal, who began painting aged 16 and held his first exhibition in 1970, has seen his discipline evolve over the years, but tells man.Vogue.me there are still similarities, decades on. “I feel that the essence of the earlier works is still there; in terms of colors and subtleness above all,” says Sheikh Rashid. “There’s no canvas as a support in my recent works, however, the overall past feelings can be felt in the more recent ones.”
In days yore, the artist cites his inspiration as landscapes and seascapes, but his muse has changed in recent years. “I was fascinated by people in motion or still; in fact I keep on sketching. Thence stem some ideas for new artworks,” Sheikh Rashid reveals. “Lately my œuvres d’art are metamorphosing into a more sleek and contemporary style, which suits me rather well because verily I am designing and using plethora colors yet in simple patterns.” “Penumbra” is certainly testament to that – scroll through the gallery above to discover more from the exhibition.
“Penumbra: Textured Shadow, Colored Light“, curated by Eva McGaw and Tatiana Palinkasev, is at London’s Saatchi Gallery until October 23.