Market 338, a two-week art and design fair launched by Al Riwaq Art Space, kicked off on the 29th of November in Bahrain’s busy art hub of Adliya.  After the success of its first market last year, Al Riwaq Gallery again organized a variety of stalls being represented by some of Bahrain’s most talented citizens.  And I certainly wasn’t disappointed!

The theme of this year's Market 338 is "recycled" and so all the furniture is made out of reused materials. Old tires make a climbing frame, a street sign is perfect for a slide and chairs have been made from old wooden crates.

Having gone directly from work to Market 338, my first stop had to include food and Bossy Kitchen by Aysha Al Araifi was suddenly there in front of me.  The Bahraini inspired healthy salads and snacks were simply delicious, a very good start to my evening.

From here I went straight to the stage area where Karak & Chapati have a café set up with a selection of hot drinks and freshly made cheese or Nutella stuffed chapatis.  Arriving before the performances were due to start, the space was peaceful with a few kids in the play area.

Working my way through the stalls, I was impressed by the amount of talent on display.  One of my favorite discoveries was Spree, launched just a couple of months ago by three friends. It's a boutique salon & fashion store located in Zing. At their stall the girls chatted to curious market visitors, explaining that they stock hundreds of nail color shades from some of the top designers in the world. They were also offering nail art at their stand by one of their very own talented beauticians.

From art on your nails to art on your walls, photographer Mairi Thomas has lived in the Middle East for the last 7 years and since moving to Bahrain just over 12 months ago, has found a great deal of inspiration from the island.  Her mesmerizing images are available on cards and in calendars but my pick has to be her framed prints.

Hana Tawfeeqi is another talented photographer exhibiting her work at the Market 338, inspired by her home country Bahrain, her work is contemporary with touches of historic symbols. Graphic designer Sara Sami has a selection of cards from her wacky range inspired by monsters. You can also make your own card at her stall with funny captions and stamps for personalization.

Amina Al Abbasi, a talented Bahraini artist whose work is inspired by her heritage, has taken her beautiful work and applied it to cushions and phone covers as well as on canvas.  Another young woman who has put her unique style into paintings and mobile cases is Muneera Bubshait.  Her style is modern and dreamy, reflecting the warmth of the artist herself.

Fibre glass chairs from Fasholo, a Dubai based art deco store, takes old imagery and introduces a modern twist.  1:1 Architects are pushing the boundaries at their stall with installations titled Womb Light and Door Talisman.  At first glance the pieces seem simple and clean but upon closer inspection the intricate detailed carving bring depth to the pieces.

Market 338 will take place until December 15, 2012. For more information visit www.alriwaqartspace.com/events/market-338 or market338bahrain.wordpress.com

– Lucy Moore

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