Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa

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Rashid bin Khalifa al Khalifa
Portrait of Rashid al Khalifa
Born 1952
Nationality Bahraini
Known for Painting
Movement Impressionism, Realism, Abstract, Individualism
Spouse(s) Lulwa bint Khalifa Al Khalifa
Website Official website

Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (born 1952) is a Bahraini painter, the first president and the current honorary president of the Bahrain Arts Society.[1] He has painted over a period of 40 years, painting artistic genres such as Realism developed to Impressionism, which gradually evolved to Individualism, a notable prelude to his recent work, a dual concept of Abstract and the colour field.[2] He is often considered to be one of the kingdom's most famous artists.[3]


Sheikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa was born in 1952 into Bahrain’s ruling family. Traditionally, families such as his have demonstrated their appreciation of art through patronage and little in creativity. Exposed to literature, philosophy and music in high school, Rashid's interest in painting was encouraged by the late Amir, Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, followed and Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, when both showed genuine interest in Rashid's works at a local art exhibition at his high school.[2]

As a young student, he actively participated in interscholastic painting activities and attended exhibitions of visiting artists. His first painting recorded was in 1966 when he was 14 years old when he had painted an oil painting of the Khamis mosque.[2] His favourite artworks were landscapes.[2]

When he came of age, he traveled to the United Kingdom where he studied extensively and gained a thorough knowledge of European masters.[4] Realism, impressionism and abstract all have a hand in Sheikh Rashid's early works.[4] But, it is also certain that he took liberties when producing such paintings. Upon his return in 1970, he had his first art exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel in Manama, then considered to be the prime location for Bahrain's recreational activities.[2] From pastoral landscapes to desert scenes, once again, he has shifted his subjects and expanded the scope of his reference from the simply theoretical to the geographical as well.[2]

He did much experimenting in the two decades between the 1970s and 1980s. His knowledge and comprehension of anatomy, perspective and composition were the foundations for his figurative and landscape paintings.[4] His works in this period exhibits characteristics of Romanticism, Abstract Expressionism and Impressionism as well as to Realism.[4]

In 1983, the Bahrain Arts Society was formed, and Sheikh Rashid was named its first president. The society is a non-profit organisation for Bahraini artists to gather and hold their painting exhibitions.[5] To date the Bahrain Art Society continues its active participation in art exhibitions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia with Sheikh Rashid as the honorary president.[1][5]

He also held a government post as the undersecretary for tourism for the Ministry of Culture of Bahrain until June 2011.[6] In the 90’s, he started to merge the two subjects and came up with his Two-dimensional paintings, his period of Individualism.[4] After the first Gulf War, Sheikh Rashid was appointed undersecretary for immigration, passports and nationality.[2]

In his new millennium paintings, landscape and figurative morphed resulting in Abstract and Colour Field. He maintained his focus on the aesthetics of what post-modernism's adherents might identify as a re-contextualisation of an art genre, but his works were never created as exercises in post-modernist theory.

A book entitled Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, 40 years of painting, from himself, by himself, for himself (ISBN 978-99901-03-52-6) is a showcase of his 40-year œuvre. The 160 page book concentrates on Sheikh Rashid's art critical biography and artistic identity analysed by Iraqi-born Swede Modhir Ahmed.[3]



  • 2012 Beirut art fair, Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center, Lebanon.[4]
  • 2012 REFLECTION: New Work by Rashid Al Khalifa, Bahrain Bahrain Financial Harbour Fine Arts Gallery[7]
  • 2010 Convex: A New Perspective, Bahrain National Museum, Kingdom of Bahrain[4]
  • 1997 Art Department, Shuman Arts Organization, Jordan
  • 1996 De Caliet Gallery, Milan, Italy.
  • 1996 El Kato Kayyel Gallery, Milan, Italy.
  • 1982 Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • 1982 Sheraton Hotel, Bahrain.
  • 1970 Dilmun Hotel, Bahrain.[2]

Selected International Exhibitions[edit]

  • 2013 In Dialogue with Modhir Ahmed, Abdulrahim Sharif and Walid Siti - The Waterline Gallery, Bahrain
  • 2013 Art International Zurich - Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2013 Art Dubai - Dubai, UAE
  • 2012 Abu Dhabi Art - Abu Dhabi, UAE

Rashid participated in the following exhibitions alongside the Bahrain Arts Society.[8]

  • 2013 Bahrain Contemporary Art -Russian Academy, Moscow
  • 2007 Bahrain Contemporary Art -Unesco Paris
  • 2005 Modern Art Exhibition Organized by the Royal Ireland, College of Surgeons of Ireland in Dublin
  • 2004 Duo show with Balqees Fakhro -Berlin Germany; Annual Art Exhibition 32- Bahrain National Museum Bahrain
  • 2002 Bahraini Culture Week- Amman Jordan; Bahraini Culture Week -Peking China
  • 1999 Taipei Art Exhibition Taiwan; Sharjah Intl. Art Biennial UAE; Bahrain – Delmun Exhibition Paris
  • 1998 Bahrain Arts Society Exhibition, Gallery Alexander Leodoux France
  • 1997 Art Expo Singapore; Art America Exhibition, Miami USA; Europe Art Festival, Geneva Switzerland; Bahrain Arts Society Exhibition, Cannes France
  • 1996 Europe Art Festival, Geneva Switzerland; Bahrain Artists Exhibition Rome; Sharjah Biennial Exhibition UAE
  • 1995 Joint Exhibition with Abbas Al-Mousawi, Hotel Du Switzerland, Rond, Geneva; Joint Exhibition at the UN Center, Lusanne Switzerland
  • 1989 Bahrain art Society Exhibition Cairo
  • 1988 Festival of Asian Artists Malaysia; New Art Center Iraq
  • 1986 First GCC Art Exhibition Japan
  • 1985 Cairo Biennial Exhibition Cairo; Alia Center Jordan
  • 1984 Bahraini Artists, Leighton House England; Salon des Artists Francises, Grand Palais Paris
  • 1981 Raffles Hotel Singapore
  • 1978 Hilton Hotel Bahrain
  • 1975 Gulf Hotel Bahrain
  • 1973 Periodic GCC Youth Exhibition
  • 1972 College of Arts Exhibition England
  • 1969 First Art Exhibition held at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain


  • 1991 GCC Golden Palm Award Doha
  • 1989 GCC Dana Award Kuwait


  1. ^ a b "Bahrain Arts Society - Committee". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Kietzman, Roy. "The evolution of master artist Sheikh Rashid". BahrainGuide. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Bahrain Art Society - One year at a glance" (PDF). Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Amaya-Akkermans, Arie (22 July 2012). "Rashid Al Khalifa at Beirut Art Fair". 5pmBahrain. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Bahrain Art Society - History". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Bangs, Richard (30 March 2011). "Bahrain: Once Was Paradise". Huffington Post. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Artistic tribute to Manama". Gulf Daily News. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bahrain Arts Society - Archives". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 

External links[edit]