Fair and Programme Director
Kaneka Subberwal has many firsts to her credit and she has built on this pioneering spirit to make her vision her mission. She has persisted despite all odds to turn what seemed like an impossible dream into reality – putting Bahrain on the map as far as art is concerned.
Her initiative is to make Bahrain a focal point for art in the West Asian region and establish a forward-thinking platform to promote the growth of art in the country. This has come to fruition as a result of BAAB – Bahrain Art Across Borders – an initiative powered by Tamkeen to take the art of the artists of Bahrain across borders globally.
Kaneka arrived in Bahrain in 2008 with her company Art Select and set up Bahrain’s first art lounge, further expanding it into the field of art consultancy which included artists, collectors, families and corporate offices within the ambit of the arts. She organized a number of art shows across the country – with ArtBahrain being a culmination of sorts, the impact it has had is commendable, especially since art fairs are a relatively new phenomenon in the region.
She aspires to create a common space for galleries and artists from around the globe to connect with collectors and art aficionados, whilst remaining hopeful that neighbouring Arab States will be more proactive in investing in and promoting their contemporary artists to the world.
With regards to organizing art exhibitions, her portfolio is impressive by any standards as she has organized a total of 57 and counting. She began in 2005 with shows in Dubai, London, Oman and Doha and the outreach of the expositions was such that she was able to bring in many new buyers and collectors within the ambit of the arts. As an art investment expert, not only did she learn to wear different hats, but also carry them with great responsibility and aplomb.
Chair, Public Programmes
Amal Khalaf is an artist, educator and curator. She is Projects Curator at the Serpentine Galleries’ where she has been working on the Edgware Road Project since its inception in 2009.
In addition to organising screenings, performances, discussions, and community-based collaborative programs and exhibitions both on and offsite, she developed a theatre and social justice program in collaboration with migrant rights organisations and ESOL teachers in London. She is currently Commissioning Editor of Projects for Ibraaz, and a founding member of artist collective GCC as well as a trustee for the Crossway Foundation. She co-directed the 10th edition of the Global Art Forum, Art Dubai in 2016.
Previously, she worked at Gasworks, London, the Townhouse Gallery, Cairo and Al Riwaq Gallery, Bahrain, as well as co-founding Hold and Freight, London, a project space based in an abandoned Victorian railway arch. Her writing has been featured in a number of edited volumes, journals and international publications.
Amal’s work has been presented at the University of Pennsylvania; Goldsmiths College, London; MoMA PS1, NY; New Museum, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Musee D’Art Moderne, Paris; The Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah; Serralves, Porto; amongst others in the educational and cultural context.