Omar AIrashid’s artistic creativity is dependent on a deep-rooted heritage and is inspired by local Bahraini as well as Islamic culture. This has resulted in the production of exceptionally innovative art.
AIrashid has proved to be a prudent experimenter. From the beginning of his career, he knew that his emotional inclination to heritage, customs and tradition could restrict him to the traditional practice of art. However, his dedication to his heritage also caused him to make the conscious decision to dissociate himself from the craze of the Plastic Artists who were greatly influenced by ‘experimental’ western art and were using western ideas, thoughts and materials in their art work. Therefore, AIrashid’s work is perceived as semi-abstract and semi-novel even though its nearness to ‘reality’ is prevalent. He has achieved a balance between form and content as well as originality and modernity.
Born in Muharraq in 1966, AIrashid was inspired by the bright, vibrant colours of the seascape. Muharraq was the first place where his passion for Bahrain’s customs and folklore developed. His second artistic inspiration was his mother. As a child, he monitored her movement, traditional dress and endless folk tales. It is because of this intimate association with his mother that he holds women in high respect in his work. His choice of a woman as the subject of much of his work also allows for his portrayal of intricate and detailed fabric.
His latest ‘child’ drawings, as well as his focus on traditional games in Bahrain, suggest a return to an age old tradition. They evoke a desire to document pleasant, childhood memories; even he admits that these are his most personal works. His figures are drawn to give one the impression that he is, consciously and subconsciously, expressively returning to childhood, He renders them modernly and simplistically, much like that of a child. His marks are preparatory and naive: their attraction lies in their charm and innocence.