Weekender Bahrain, Tuesday, February 25 2020

The British & the Bahraini Artist

admin 04-May-2019

The British & the Bahraini Artist

A fascinating story of a Bahraini painting connecting generations of an English family

Is it possible to be connected to something so strongly when you are only associated to it through stories; specifically speaking stories of your grandparents? Weekender has stumbled upon an amazing search which will bring a man from the United Kingdom and an artist from Bahrain together. Their common ground- a couple that resided and called Bahrain their home when they moved here in 1953.

Nicholas Reed from the United Kingdom is hoping to get in touch with Bahraini artist ‘Abdul Karim Al-Orrayed’. Despite Nick not having been to Bahrain all his life, he shares a very strong connection with this specific artist as in his family home, resides two paintings that his grandfather purchased from Abdul Karim in 1969. It is this particular art work that stands as a testament to the amazing time period when his grandparents called Bahrain home, leaving only with profound memories that have now become the most fascinating stories for their grandson.

“My Grandparents, Gerald and Irene Goldfinch, moved to Bahrain, specifically Awali in 1953 with my mother, Sandra, who was eight years old at the time,” Nick told Weekender. Gerald had secured a job as a Supervisor with the Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) in the Transport Department, and had quite a variety of responsibilities. One of those was to manage the construction of a roadway to the new stable block that had been built at the palace of Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa. “Shaikh Isa was so pleased with the work that my grandfather did that as a special thank you he gave my grandfather a Movado watch. This watch is very special as it has Shaikh Isa's image on the watch face, and it was bequeathed to me when my grandfather passed away, “he informed.

The warmth of the first emir of Bahrain continued on the family. As Nick recalls, ”On another occasion, my grandmother drove alongside the Shaikh whilst waiting at some traffic lights in Manama (my grandmother was driving a right hand drive car whereas the Sheikh had a left hand drive car.) As they had already met several times before, pleasantries were exchanged and my grandmother commented on how lovely she thought a rather large ring the Shaikh was wearing was. He took it off his finger and passed to her, saying 'You must have it my Dear.' She told me that story quite a few times!”