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In Conversation With Lyne Sneige: The Sea Of Life Exhibition

Cover Image art:

Top Left Image: ‘Farida X’ , 2019. Ghada Khunji

Top Right Image: ‘This is Your Name’, 2015. Abbas Yousif

Bottom Image: ‘Shifting Waters’, 2021. Mariam Alnoaimi

I was recently fortunate enough to chat with Lyne Sneige, who is the director of the arts & culture at The Middle East Institute (MEI) in America!

She is currently co-curating an exhibition alongside Hayfa Aljishi called ‘The Sea Of Life: Modern & Contemporary Art From The Kingdom Of Bahrain’ which is in Washington DC and will be running till the 26th of April. So, if you’re an American student or travelling to the US in the near future be sure to check out the gallery.

In our conversation, we spoke about:

Her role within MEI, what MEI is all about, and whether the rise in popularity of Middle Eastern and North African spheres in the UK and US through mediums such as art.

We also spoke a bit about what it takes to curate an exhibition and a little bit more about the current exhibition itself and what you can expect to find out when you visit it.

We ended by talking about a future exhibition MEI has also planned and her final reflections on ‘The Sea Of Life’.

I loved that many pieces had different styles of influence from different regions. This was demonstrated in Mariam Alnoami who drew from the epic of Gilgamesh to create her series of ‘Shifting Waters’. Abbas Youssef was inspired by poet Mahmoud Darwish in his calligraphy style of artwork to create ‘This Is Your Name’ and ‘I Was Founded In Blue’. And finally, Ghada Khunji drew from the life of Frida Kahlo to create a photomontage called ‘Farida X’. What I took from something Ghada said in the opening of the gallery was that in other words, Bahrain was a place of welcoming. It felt like the influences and cultures of other people are accepted and embraced by the opening of the sea and this could perhaps be shown through these particular artworks.

If you are not visiting America anytime soon, there is a guided audio tour on the website from Lyne here. You can also the works of the exhibition (such as the ones I mentioned above) and a talk from some of the artists at the opening of the gallery on the website.

A very huge thank you to Lyne for speaking to me and to Bath Time! Lyne offered some very thoughtful perspectives and I hope you will enjoy our conversation.  

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