Bin Matar House

The Bin Matar House’s exhibition space. Photo NeilvdL.

The Bin Matar House is a gallery with a museum function in Muharraq, Manama’s twin city. The house was built in 1905 by the Bin Matar family, prominent members of Bahrain’s merchant community, who had been successful initially in the timber trade and later in the pearl trade.

The original mansion now has been converted in a spacious exhibition venue, with ingenious arrangements for natural and artificial light falling on the exhibited works.  The renovated venue opened in 2009. It is run by the Sheikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed al Khalifa Centre, which belongs to Sheikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa, the Minister of Culture and member of the Royal family.

The house is a very successful example of rejuvenated traditional craftsmanship. Using traditional materials, the restoration of the Bin Matar House has preserved the traditional ceilings made of a palm leaf and wooden beams, in red and black, as well as the authentic construction and finishing of walls and floors.

Regularly, new exhibitions take place, dedicated to Bahraini and other Arabic artists. Each exhibition is extremely well arranged, making use of the design and the natural light of the building.

In 2010, the Bin Matar House had an interesting exhibition by Bahraini artist Falka Al Hassan; in 2012, it hosted Bahraini artist Ebrahim Bu Saad’s ‘The Ring of the Dove’, based on the scripts of (Ibn) Hazem Al Andalusi.

Unfortunately, the Bahrain-based hedge fund Arcapita that funded the renovation recently had to file for bankruptcy.



Written by: Neil Last modified: 17th Nov 2012
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