Safer Spaces is a collective consciousness art exhibition that aims to normalize and spark conversation around the topic of mental health in the Arab world. Comprised of an epic collection of 70 artworks, created by 19 emerging artists based in the GCC, the show aims to explore and portray one of the most vulnerable, intimate spaces to exist: the mind.

Safer Spaces, participating artists

Originally planned to be held at The Art Space gallery, a creative hub, digital platform, and art gallery rooted in Bahrain Bay, a new location for art and luxury situated in the heart of Manama, Bahrain. The Art Space is dedicated to fostering the GCC’s diverse and dynamic creative community, and endeavors to support and promote the visual arts and contemporary culture of the Arab world. The team behind the show has adapted with the tides, and Safer Spaces has evolved into a regional phenomenon now being held in virtual reality.

The Art Space, a creative hub, digital platform, and art gallery located in Bahrain Bay (Manama, Bahrain)

When the idea of Safer Spaces was originally conceived in February 2020, it was in response to the arid lack of acknowledgement for the mental health conversation in the region. Fast forward to the present where it is no longer safe to leave the house due to health measures enacted to stem the rise of the COVID-19 outbreak. To contend with this present reality, Safer Spaces is no longer a radical contemporary project, but a necessary one.

Safer Spaces, virtual reality experience
Zayn Al Qahtani, Curator and participating artist; Safer Spaces–The Art Space, Bahrain

On the technology behind Safer Spaces, curator and participating artist Zayn Al Qahtani explains: “Safer spaces is not just a slideshow on a website – we have a remarkable web development team who have pushed the boundaries of what we thought was possible to experience through a screen: hyper-realistic 3D renderings, thoughtful museum design, interactive commenting tools, a one-click link to shop your favorite artworks… You can literally walk around and explore the work from all angles just as you would in real life – it truly is the first of its kind.” 

One of the most exciting features of this show is that it covers a topic that has never been addressed at this large of a scale in the Gulf.

Esra Faraj, Founder & Managing Director of The Art Space in Bahrain

On bringing the show from idea to conception, Founder and Managing Director of the Art Space, Esra Faraj, said: “One of the community objectives at The Art Space is to facilitate and represent creative young talents with transforming their artistic visions into reality. We help and guide them into promoting and displaying their art in the best possible light to the international Art scene. Through our many discussions with emerging artists, a recurring topic close to everyone’s hearts has surfaced: ‘How can we  do our part to end the taboo around the conversation of Mental Health in the Middle East through art?’ This gave me the drive to put together this exhibition. I believe the first step to overcoming such a complex issue is to acknowledge, discuss, and bring it to light. Only then can we see significant shifts in attitudes and creative solutions to such issues.”

To access the VR exhibition click here.
Safer Spaces will be running until the 10th of August, 2020.

The article above was submitted by The Art Space, Bahrain Founder and Managing Director, Esra Faraj.

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