Omani photographers cross borders

Art Dubai is no longer the only player making a big splash on the global art scene. Bahrain’s glossy new art fair, a daring project piloted in 2015, is now emerging in a distinctive brand as ArtBahrain – Art Bahrain Across Borders. And Bait Muzna Gallery is sending three superb Omani photographers across borders for the 2017 event, set to take place from the March 22 to 26, 2017 at the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre under royal patronage of Shsikha bint Ibrahim al Khalifa, wife of the King of Bahrain and President of the Supreme Council for Women.
The three Omani photographers share a passionate love for Oman and the pristine, ever-changing light that dramatises its spectacular landscapes, the character expressed in the faces of people, the nation’s fascinating traditional culture, and its proud history on land and sea. All three artists are both local and international award-winners, gold-medalists who belong to the prestigious FIAP, The International Federation of Photographic Art. Each photographer speaks of what he or she learns through the lens and the spiritual journey that opens up with the practice of their art. For ArtBAB, they have chosen works from their black-and-white collections.
Nadia Al Amri is particularly admired for images of haunting beauty and how she mirrors reality in ways that reveal inner meanings. She has five conceptual pieces in the exhibition on the theme of women in surrealistic settings.
Ahmed Altoqi describes himself as “the son of a beautiful land, of sweeping beaches, soaring mountain ranges, golden sand-dune deserts, green valleys and sheltering palm trees… the son of a heritage spanning three thousand years, of diverse history, heritage, life and folklore, faces full of tolerance, dignity and unlimited generosity”. Altoqi’s collection for ArtBAB includes four striking landscapes, an engaging portrait of a basket-maker at work, and an unforgettable image of a fisherman asleep amid his nets.
From his magnificent collection of portraits, Ahmed al Shukaili has selected six pieces showing the weathered faces of old Omani men, etched with character, emanating wisdom. Shukaili explains, “I take photography as a tool to indulge in the beauty of life and humanity away from other complications of life itself. I found that life is fascinating in a different way through the viewfinder of my camera and that made me explore more and more fruitfully.”
ArtBAB will host reputed artists, galleries and collectors from Bahrain, the region and around the world.
The Exhibition will include a BAAB Pavilion exclusive to thirty Bahraini artists selected by an international jury; a Gallery Arena to host some thirty-five international and local galleries; an International Artists Pavilion; an art book shop; and an art merchandising and design section. A specially designed art and education program titled ‘Talks@ArtBAB’, in which leading Omani photographer Ahmed Al Shukaili will participate, includes panel discussions and fascinating talks by key artists.
Al Shukaili commented, “This is a great opportunity to display the work of Omani artists and to exchange ideas with artists from the region and around the world as well all experience a stimulating diversity of artwork in one place. I am incredibly excited to be part of ArtBAB with my collection called Glistens with Grey”, along with amazing photographs by my colleagues Ahmed Altoqi and Nadia Al Amri”.
Founded at the turn of the new Millennium, Bait Muzna Gallery continues to have a significant pioneering impact on the development of art in Oman, particularly in bringing Omani artists into the realm of global art where they have created excitement and interest, received well-deserved acclaim and benefitted from exposure to exciting new ideas. Bait Muzna’s initiative at ArtBAB will mark another milestone along the way. The corporate sector in Oman continues to be a strong supporter of art in Oman and Towell Engineering Company and Supershine Construction & Leasing made the Bait Muzna ArtBAB venture possible.