A profile of ARTDIVANO gallery, Bahrain


ARTDIVANO is a contemporary art gallery and art advisory platform spearheaded by Afaf Zainalabedin and Marion Akanji. The gallery represents major blue-chip Bahrainin artists such as Abbas Almosawi and Abbas Yousif.


How was ARTDIVANO formed?

ARTDIVANO was formed in 2003 by Afaf Zainalabedin as the Managing Director and Marion Akanji as the Art Director. Afaf, a Bahraini National and former banker with a passion and  drive for ART, and Marion, a German National resident in Bahrain for many years also with a  passion and drive for ART in the region, have formed a strong partnership with an enterprise in ART, for ART and with ART. The Company Motto “ the passion for art “ reflects this endeavor of two powerful women who are fusing the orient and the occident not only by their origins but by sharing a strong expertise in the field of Art in the Middle East.

Afaf Zainalabedin and Marion Akanji

Can you describe ARTDIVANO’s concept for our readers?

The concept is unique for the Middle East and for Bahrain, our base country. ARTDIVANO’s motto “the passion for art” stands for fusing successfully an art consultancy with a concept gallery store and art boutique, a professional in-house archival giclee print studio and an online gallery. We showcase fine art and art accessories in our gallery in Bahrain as well as in our online gallery for worldwide orders. We also offer art consultancy services to find the piece of art which speaks to our client amongst already existing artworks or arranging for customized pieces.

The grand opening of ARTDIVANO under the patronage of HH Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa


At the same time we partner with artists as their entrusted print studio for high quality archival reproductions in limited or unlimited editions produced in-house. Our concept and philosophy allows us to serve private & corporate clients on a highly professional level by providing first hand assistance and full package experiences in all aspects of fine art procurement and art related services.



From a collector’s point of view, why should they collect artists you represent? Is there a common theme (location, for example)? Can you give them a rationale for collecting artists you represent?

ARTDIVANO is promoting emerging and established (recognized locally, regionally and internationally) artists and designers with a unique connection to the Middle East and who are reflecting this strong relationship in their works.



Bahrain, even a small archipelago is but a huge melting pot of diverse cultures and nationalities calling this tiny island their home. Influences from all over the world are fusing here and become translated into very special pieces of art which can’t be found elsewhere.

The artists we are representing are coming up with fine art pieces which are reflecting their lives and unique backgrounds.

We stand mainly for affordable fine art to make art available to first collectors, young collectors and low budget art lovers all around the world. Particularly our in-house produced Limited Editions of Fine Art and Photography Art is giving a wide range of art enthusiast the opportunity to find their entrance into the world of art collecting the easiest way.



Why are you THE go-to art consultancy in Bahrain?

We are a professional and experienced art consultancy with an exceptional knowledge and expertise on Bahrain’s artists and art scene, and on Middle Eastern and Contemporary Fine Art. Our expertise goes along with the development, procurement, customization and execution of full art programs for private and corporate clients such as private villas and apartments, corporate offices or hotel projects. Amongst our clients and successfully completed projects are The Sofitel Hotel and Spa in Bahrain and The Double Tree Hilton in Qatar. Our complete list of references can be viewed on our website www.artdivano.com. Our expertise and company philosophy permits us also to take special care of our clients’ enquiries by short way communication and by being locally available, ensuring the highest quality of our services.



What are the challenges facing contemporary Bahraini artists today?

The biggest challenge for Bahrain’s contemporary modern artists today is to work and develop their artistic independence from the understanding of art by the West to please the West, but to rather translate the fundamental questions asked

“ Where do I come from? “ and the “Where do I go ?”  and the “ Who am I and Why? in a way which reflects the Middle Eastern understanding of art by following back and embracing their tradition, heritage and history by developing themselves and their art  in the future, and with a sense of identity and belonging as world citizens from the East in times of globalisation.





All images courtesy and copyright of ARTDIVANO.


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