Nestled under the trees at the entrance of Amwaj Islands, Red Bull’s new initiative, Malja (Arabic for ‘refuge’), Bahrain’s first open creative space, is set to open its doors tomorrow at 4pm, with Double Tap and live graffiti performances, followed by an opening ceremony at 6pm.
Malja will be a home for creative minds to learn, create, develop and perform, by supporting and connecting all types of arts in the most innovative way. Part artist incubator, part gallery and part arts and culture curator, Malja’s core purpose is to recognise artists, while breaking down regional barriers, as well as financial and institutional constraints between them.
BMMI is proud to be supporting such an initiative and are confident that this will be a big success story. President and CEO, Gordon Boyle had a few words he wanted to share.
“Let me start and tell you why I believe what we are doing as a company is the right thing to do, and with the Greek election results this week it seems to me we are on the right track. I’m sure some of you may be questioning what BMMI has to do with Greece, apart from Pavlos being a member of the Alosra management team. Well, there are shock waves all over the world due to the election results in a country of only 11 million, where the Greek millennials voted for Syriza. This party has promised to negotiate a new way forward in order to reduce the suffering that the Greeks are going through due to the financial crisis that started in 2008.
“Today unemployment is close to 30% in Greece and millennial unemployment is above 50%, with many of the young today viewing the old ways and the old leadership as redundant, and no longer providing them with hope.
“Here in the Middle East and North Africa region, when you look at the numbers of millennials who are unemployed and not actively seeking employment we have close to 45% of them in these two categories. The Greek elections tell a much bigger story other than an election victory for the Syriza party. It confirms we are experiencing massive change, driven by the digital age and disproportionately affecting the young.
“Knowing what is happening helps me explain why the Malja project is so important. Bahrain also faces problems when it comes to millennials getting into work, in particular those who wish to seek opportunities in the arts field. There are many talented individuals who want to succeed in their chosen area of expertise but support, in many cases, is either not there or very limited. That is why BMMI have teamed up with Red Bull to support this project in order to provide facilities where millennials can go to share knowledge and ideas, but at the same time practice their chosen area of specialisation.
“In addition the new facility will be available to provide a venue for exhibitions where the art can now not only be shared, but also sold.
“For me this is a very exciting moment for all of us as we further develop our involvement in the communities where we are embedded, by providing something that the community, and in particular the millennials, need. It is very easy to write a cheque and have our picture taken as well as have an article in the newspapers. I think it is much more impactful to support such a project as Malja, where our support is much more focused and impactful.
“Hopefully in the weeks and months ahead, those of you visiting Bahrain from our operations outside of Bahrain will take the opportunity to see what we are doing with Red Bull and this will in turn, turn on a light that will inspire you to consider what can be done in other parts of BMMI.
“Finally, I remain very confident this will be a big success story. Hopefully this will be the start of a journey with other initiatives being supported by BMMI, as well as other partners such as Red Bull, in order that we can be more active in the communities where we operate. At the same time we hope to provide support that really makes a big difference to the lives of those in the communities where we are helping.”
Malja provides artists with the space, tools, and intimacy to unleash their creative side. It will feature the RBMA Quarter Tone Frequency Sound Space, a 28.5sqm area dedicated to general music usage, with a dedicated electronic music production facility, and the Art Room, a 33sqm room that can house special projects, be a space for creating art or accommodate dance groups, as well as the Gallery, an open 215sqm space with a stage, which can host concerts for up to 250 people and art galleries. By mixing these different types of art, Malja wants to offer creative minds with a unique experience and captivate art aficionados with concepts that take their passion to a whole new level.
After taking over Alosra supermarket’s previous location, creative hands and minds have been working for the past three months to transform this hidden place into a communal location to create, promote and support arts in Bahrain and the Middle East.
spoon deSIGN Consultants led the design of the 350sqm, multi-functional project space, which features their unique façade installation. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are brought to light by Lumen Arts Lighting Consultants, who are responsible for all of Malja’s illumination. Artist, Jody Peck, and Noof Al Refaei, of Sikkeh Gallery, contributed with some of the featured interior furniture, while Sara Valente, from spoon deSIGN, and Reine Lahoud, lead the landscape design.
On the curators’ front, Tarik Omar and Hasan Hujairi are consulting on the sound room equipment and developing workshop ideas related to music and studio production. Meanwhile, Frances Stafford and Yasmin Sharabi, art consultants, will manage the annual gallery, which will be held in Malja’s main hall.
A team of storytellers are documenting Malja’s coming to life journey. Behind the camera, jeo productions’ team of producers and cameramen are capturing every moment, from the construction to the people involved behind the scenes.
In photos and writing, Noor Noorudin, Quentin de Pimodan, Melchior de Tinguy and Ali Haji are telling the story of Malja, on the blog www.maljabahrain.com, which was designed by Maroon Frog.
On the opening week (Jan 30 to Feb 4), Malja’s program will feature several artists from different disciplines who will provide a sneak peek into the type of programs to expect at Malja.
To learn more about the opening and the full program visit: www.maljabahrain.com and join the conversation on social media; Facebook: www.facebook.com/maljabahrain; Instagram:@maljabahrain; #Maljabahrain #Bahrainculture
Malja is a not for profit venue and is opened from 12pm to 10pm, 7 days a week. Malja’s partners include: BMMI, Amwaj Islands Management, Batelco, Virgin Megastore, Likwid Productions, Hala Bahrain Show and Time Out Magazine.
For more information please call: +973 323 230 00