Rochester Art Gallery current exhibitions

Shubbak logo. A Window on Contemporary Arab Cultures.

Two Seas by Reem Acason

This exhibition is running from 28 April to 15 July 2023.

Invitation to preview evening

Meet the artist, Reem Acason, at Rochester Art Gallery on Thursday 27 April 2023 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

This event is free, all are welcome.

Printing workshop

Find out more about the printing workshop with artist Reem Acason, running as part of Medway Print Festival 2023.

About the exhibition

Two seas is the English translation for the name of the island archipelago of Bahrain – the artist’s place of birth.

Reem Acason is a multi-disciplinary artist and arts educator born in Bahrain to a Bahraini father and an English mother. She has spent most of her life living in the South East of England with trips back to Bahrain to visit family.

Her work explores the human experience of living between countries and her own mixed British Bahraini heritage, alongside broader cultural and ecological legacies relating to the sea.

Coastal areas across the globe are politically, socially and ecologically charged spaces, inextricable connected to maritime history, movement, trade and migration.

The title of this exhibition ‘Two seas’, could be interpreted in lots of ways. Whether it be the polarised views of how the sea is perceived by different social groups, to the two coastal locations of the South coast of England and the coast surrounding Bahrain. It could also be interpreted as the freshwater Medway River flowing into the Thames estuary and the salty North Sea.

To the artist it represents a flowing together of identities, histories and views of the world, contrasting cultures which ultimately overlap and connect.

The work in this exhibition highlights and celebrates cross pollination between cultures, the sharing of technology, science, knowledge, literature and art. It also acknowledges the complex histories that these coastal areas share, and the pressures felt by the wildlife and species currently inhabiting these precious environments.

Acason uses a wide variety of materials in her work which bridge cultures and weave connections between her personal preoccupations. Her work often incorporates symbolically meaningful materials collected on her travels and bought in souks. This has included paper made locally in Bahrain from date palm fronds,  as well as old fishing nets donated by fishermen working along the Sussex coastline.

Her paintings are heavily inspired by portraits of the western tradition and include symbolism and patterns with religious references.

This exhibition is part of Shubbak Festival: A Window on Contemporary Arab Cultures, running from 28 April to 15 July 2023.

Portrait painting for the Two Seas exhibition by Reem Acason.
Portrait painting by Reem Acason.