The significant growth and development that the Sultanate is experiencing today have been influenced largely by the education gained by many of its citizens. From science to technology, to art among others — major changes have been achieved all thanks to a fortified and well-structured education system.
Just last week, students excitedly went back to school. Around 1123 schools opened their doors to more than 600,000 students all eager to gain education that some claim is the great equaliser.
The flooding of students attending their classes didn’t escape Omani artist Salim al Salami who, in his own creative way interpreted both the joys and pains of students and teachers every school year.
The series of paintings which he shared through his social media accounts had gained viral status as many felt that the atmosphere they conveyed reminded them generously of what it was like going to school.
The artist tried to create a joyful atmosphere through the smart combination of colours.
One of the well-liked paintings is that of a young child with books and popular Omani landmarks perched on top of his head. Aptly named ‘Science Building The Homeland,’ Salim shared that it was a deliberate interpretation “to prove that the future of Oman depends on these students and the knowledge they gain.”
The child’s gaze looms towards the distance where the sun and “this is due to my belief in a bright future for my homeland,” he shared.
The books above the child’s head forming landmarks and monuments signify “that they become witnesses and evidence of hard work. Science builds and flourishes the nations,” he said.
In another work which he called “Madrasati Oman” (Oman is my school), “through bright colors such as yellow and light green and backed up by illumination, I was trying to reinterpret bright and vibrant mornings. The presence of the flag in the painting is to make it specific to Oman.”
Salim explained that he also made sure that the painting reminds people of the 70s. He said, “there are different elements that invoke this nostalgia. The central detail is that of an old truck and clay house with wooden windows and arched entrance. The label “Madrasati Oman” was prominently displayed on top as a clear identification that all of it was a reminder that Oman is a big university where people are allowed to grow.
The other painting he is really proud of is that of a young boy who was clutching his study book signifying the strong yearning for knowledge. With the Wilayat of Nizwa serving as a backdrop, it was based on reality that many students had been choosing this mode of transport to go to school.
When you look at this painting, “you feel as if the details are moving. I painted in the background chimneys, heavy equipment; a plane flying on the horizon — this is a manifestation of the country’s development and growth which will not stop.”
The three paintings took Salim about 40 days to complete. Using acrylic on canvas, he said that they were “a mixture of realism, surrealism, and impressionism.”
Salim hopes for people not to take school life lightly and his aim is that when someone sees his works, they can start a conversation and elevate their artistic taste.