The photograph of a Bahraini photographer capturing the kingdom’s youth in a new light has been captured to be featured among the much-vaunted stream at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, USA, report Naman Arora and Mai Al -Khatib Camille.
When 29-year-old Ishaq Madan set off with a group of thobes-clad skateboarders to Isa Town’s newly-named Bahrain Youth Avenue educational area, he didn’t expect MoMA to make it one of their favorites, even if the idea of the coup came “as if by magic” for him.
“I was reading the news when I saw the opening ceremony of the avenue and as soon as I saw it, the idea came to my mind – It was like magic, to be honest,” the photographer explained.
“That was the first thing that came to mind – I have to take skateboarders and tell this story. Basically, my photographs are visual storytelling – I like to tell stories through images, and that was a story I wanted to show and tell.
“It’s a very different side of Bahrain – not the traditional genre you would normally see, in terms of photography, and it was a lot of fun.”
The photograph is a slice of time in the truest sense of the word, capturing the moment a decked-out skateboarder flips his board in the air, his gutra flying in the wind, past the street sign, artfully hiding the “Avenue” part of this one .
The result is a moment in a bottle that illuminates Bahraini youth today – a mix of cultures where tradition finds its place alongside modernity as they yearn to flourish and fly.
MoMA Photo Club member Ishaq shared the photo with the club and it was quickly picked up by the group, as they celebrated the Photo Club winning a Webby Award.
“It’s amazing. It was so surreal because I didn’t expect it at all. I just got a notification that MoMA posted my picture on their account and I was in shock,” he said. added Ishaq.
Ishaq’s photographs have previously been featured in a series of exhibitions ranging from the Sharjah Art Foundation’s Vantage Point 5 in 2018, to the Paris Biennale in 2019, to Arab Street Vol. 2 and the 46th Annual Bahrain Fine Arts Exhibition in 2020.
He was also commissioned by Bahrain International Airport to create a piece for the new airport terminal.
What distinguishes his images are his techniques. He often combines natural light with soft reflections and unusual perspectives to create painting like photographs featuring figures captured in frame.
His inspiration is drawn heavily from his desire to bridge the gap between Bahrain and the world through pictorial masterpieces.
“It’s amazing to see Bahrain on the world stage,” he added. I’m sure we all feel the same way when we watch a TV show or a movie, and they mention Bahrain out of the blue. And we would get excited and start pointing at the screen.
“It’s always nice to represent our island. It’s a special place and it deserves to be there.
While the young photographer shines in the afterglow of this honour, he is anything but resting on his laurels, already hard at work on his next project, adding: “Right now I am working on the publication of my first book photo but I can’t share all the details about it at this time.