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Bahrain National Museum Commission

Bahrain National Museum commissioned Steve Sabella, among ten other artists  to look at Bahrain and interpret it visually.

SINOPIA II  Steve Sabella


Sabella photographed the skylines of Manama from multiple angles and then flattened the 360-degree views into one horizontal plane, creating heartbeat, vibration, audio-like frequencies. Sabella later commissioned The Khoury Project to interpret the ‘audio waves’ to reveal the sound of Manama.

listen here


Sabella photographed the colorful house facades in Al Muharraq and then collaged them. Much like the first piece in the series, viewers grapple with whether it's painting or photography.


Nat Muller

"Sabella’s compositions veer from the surreal depictions of mirrored cityscapes and the iconic 400-year old Tree of Life, to highly deconstructed energetic painterly collages reminiscent of cubist and fauvist paintings. In one collage, the compiled facades of buildings make up a completely novel cubist and chaotic cityscape, with only windows, lanterns and satellite dishes as recognisable elements. It is as if Sabella has stripped his Bahraini images of their specificity in order to construct a composite image with layer upon layer of information."

Steve Sabella Sinopia IV | The Trees Of Life | Bahrain National Museum Commission


Sabella photographed the mysterious Tree of Life. No one knows where the Tree of Life gets its water from as it stands alone in the middle of the desert between the sky and earth, uniting the whole nation. 

Sinopia enables both atopia and utopia—decisive placelessness and the possibility of a place—to sound. These lie close together in the syntagm of Steve Sabella’s work. Counterpoint prescribes the movement in the separation of possibilities, drivenby a conviction of the necessity to grasp the artistic work as a form of riposte to injustice, aesthetic as freedom and as hope.

Hubertus Von Amelunxen
Author, curator, member of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin | President of the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.

Published by Hatje Cantz & Akademie der Künste

Steve Sabella Photography | Texts by Hubertus Von Amelunxen | Foreword by Kamal Boullata

"These graffiti messages—in all their appearances— are the visual materials for one of the images in Sabella’s Sinopia, which is the cover of the artist’s recent monograph.* This work resembles shredded and restructured strips of wallpaper in an explosion of colors, rising and falling on a vertical plane. Like a seismographic reading set to a musical score, its staccato composition galvanizes diverse voices, translating dialogue into a rhythmic visual form." Madeline Yale Preston


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