7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Back online petition call by artists

AN online petition has been launched against the decision of the Culture and Information Ministry blocking access to various websites.

It was sparked following a ban on, an international online community for artists.

"One day while logging onto the website, as I do everyday, I was shocked to see that it was suddenly banned," said Maha Thani, the 27-year-old creator of the online petition.

"I just want the site back! It is only an art community, a place for you to communicate with other artists, get ideas and express yourself." was created in August 2000 and has grown into a haven for artists to share art of many disciplines including photography, digital art, traditional art, literature and filmmaking, she said.

Besides being able to network with artists from across the world, the site also features downloadable resources such as tutorials.

"I joined the site in 2007 and have showcased my drawings and animations there," said Ms Thani.

"The site has really helped me grow as an artist through people's feedback on my work and my research into different art styles."

The petition she started has been signed by almost 300 people so far, from all over the world.

"Please, help me and my fellow Bahraini artists so that we can get justice and have the site back, and go on improving our skills in art," states the petition.

"Speaking on behalf of the above mentioned fellow Bahraini artists, I also state that any person, not necessarily from Bahrain, is more than welcome to help, and it will be really appreciated," states the petition.

A Bahrain-based Indian artist and architect, who signed the petition but didn't want to be named, said he was a paid subscriber to the site and that he was furious at it being blocked.

"This is extremely unfair. I am a paid subscriber and have already subscribed for this year," said the 32-year-old.

"I also had a position on to be in charge of discovering new designers and architects. I am extremely angry for it being blocked"

He said that he had started using the website in 2004 and has met many international artists, used the sites' educational resources and displayed his work through it.

"The worst part of this ban is that I had used the site as an online portfolio for my work, a portfolio that millions of people could access," he said.

"It's a shame that the site was blocked for no reason, it does not even make sense."


Being born in Bahrain, he said that he felt an appreciation for Bahraini culture and had enjoyed seeing the work of local artists online.

"It was a pleasure to look at the work of young Bahraini artists," he said.

"They portray their culture and tradition through their talent. Many foreign artists, who saw their work got to see what Bahrain really is and lost any preconceived notions that they had."

Bayu Hefki, a 27-year-old Indonesian artist living in Bahrain, credits for being the main reason he got employed here.

"I met a Bahraini artist on the website and we became very close friends," he said.

"When an opening in my friend's firm surfaced he showed my online deviantArt portfolio to the management and I was employed.

"NowI have been working in Bahrain for a year in a big architecture firm, none of this would have happened if it wasn't for the website."

"I feel terrible about the ban. It helped me greatly with enhancing my skills through the massive amount of resources and feedback from both professionals and budding artists.

"It gave me an opportunity. We owe a lot to this forum."

To read the petition, visit

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