‘Conquering Darkness through Strength of Vision.’

 

Nasser Alyousif was one of the pioneers of visual art in bahrain. During the 1960s, he became an active member of the bahraini art scene, embarking on a revolutionary journey characterized by a serious, rigorous approach, along with a group of other pioneers in the local art movement.

 

He drew from life, drifting through cities, villages, neighborhoods, popular cafes, and orchards, wandering along the shorelines among seamen, where fishing boats and traditional sightseeing vessels proliferated in the waters off the bahraini coast, his visual repertoire rich with scenes of daily life and bahrain’s famous virgin natural landscape. He was a pioneer in documenting local public and private life on a visual and artistic level – a rich tapestry of memory both for himself and for the people of bahrain.

 

He was also particularly interested in the stories of the pearl divers, featuring them prominently in a lot of his sketches and diagrams, collecting their stories as well as those from the lives and work of a lot of the older fishermen, unearthing their meaning and symbolism in paintings that featured intricate details of the famous bahraini profession of pearl diving.

 

In his artistic practice, al-youssef melded all the current styles to forge his own unique form that combined dexterity of expression with powerful ideas, infusing immeasurable simplicity into both his implementation and delivery.

 

His unique symbolic expression sprang from an approach that merged a magical, self-contained simplicity with an authoritative structure and precise execution.

 

Those of us of his generation who loved him called him professor Nasser, not simply because he surpassed us in years – artistic and life experience – but because he outshone everyone in the intricacy of his ideas, the strength of his insight and the substance of his technique and expression.

 

In 1994, he began to complain of a deterioration of his eyesight, lness and several surgeries.

 

When he lost his eyesight, he became the rare artist who fought the darkness with the light of his artistic vision, curbing its dominion with an extraordinary brilliance that challenged the loss of an artist’s most important sense - his eyesight.

 

He surpassed even his own artistic and human mastery when he battled the darkness in his own vision.

 

Not only preventing it from shadowing his forest of colors and thwarting it from staying his brush, but making it surrender to him, using the blackness to create a huge group of paintings that represented a turning point in his dazzling body of work, through which he perhaps hoped to impart to us, his colleagues – that darkness at the heart of one’s vision – is indeed part of one’s rich, lived experience that it is in fact a breathtaking color that we have long avoided placing on our palettes.

 

Nasser Alyousif managed to assert his overwhelming artistic passion over the encompassing darkness by achieving an incredible body of work without ever denying what the whole spectrum of experience had brought him. He never gave up his rich expressive ability to direct the eloquence of his ideas and the fluency of its meanings... all of which is prominently displayed in the artworks you see before you here.

 

— Abdulla Yousef. Artist, Playwright and television director. Manama, February 2014.

 

 

Artist Biography

Solo Exhibitions

2004 third solo exhibition entitled “ More than Meets the eye” at Albareh Art Gallery. Bahrain.

2003 Second solo exhibition entitled “Challenge two” after his sight impairment. Bahrain.

2000 held a retrospective exhibition on his work at Albareh Art Gallery. Bahrain.

1998 First solo exhibition entitled “Challenge one” after his sight impairment. Bahrain.

1996 recognized as a pioneer of the plastic arts in the Arabian Gulf. UAE.

1982 Joint Graphic exhibition. 1980 Arab biennial exhibition. Kuwait.

1980 GCC Plastic Arts exhibition. Qatar.

1971—1985 Participated in all exhibitions of the bahrain Contemporary Art Association.

1969 bahrain Artists Association exhibition. Kuwait.

1957 Agricultural Fair, Plastic art. Lebanon.

 

Elected Group/international Exhibitions

1985 GCC Cultural Week exhibition. Japan.

1984 Cairo international biennial Arab Arts exhibition. Egypt

1982 Collaborated with artist ibrahim bu- Saad, he held an exhibition about the israeli invasion of lebanon.

1981 GCC Cultural Week exhibition. France.

1981 bahrain exhibition. Singapore.

1980 Assilah Cultural Forum. Morocco. Second and fourth Arab biennial exhibition. Morocco and Jordan, respectively.

Participated several times in the norway triennial exhibitions of engraving.

 

Awards

1997—1998 Certificateofmeritinboththe6thand 7th Annual Plastic Arts exhibitions. Bahrain.

1996 Consolation prize at the 1996 bahrain national Day exhibition. Bahrain.

1979—1980 Dilmon First Award in the 8th and 9th Annual Plastic Arts exhibitions. Bahrain.

1972 top ten medals in the first annual Plastic Arts exhibition. Bahrain.

1971 Second prize in the health Poster Competition.

 

Collections

His work was acquired by Museums in bahrain, Jordan, and Qatar. Many important private collectors in the Arab world.