Painting dreams

Liju Cherian –

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream,” a famous quote by Vincent Van Gogh strikes you as one enters the studio of a Colombian mural artist in Muscat.
Rebeca Nigrinis is out to prove the Van Gough’s feelings through her works. She works mostly on acrylics, using bright and vibrant colours and is quite a sensation in the local art scene.
Making best use of her Latin American roots, Rebeca’s work on canvas is a blend of her Colombian background and life in the Middle East. Presently her work on the new gypsy series ‘Diva’ articulates African Arab culture and women via acrylic.
Growing up close to the sea has had an amazing influence to her paintings with the Caribbean colours and vitality shown in her artworks. Though graduated as an industrial engineer, she chose her career as an artist. Rebeca is very innovative and for her art is an everyday therapy. Recently she started tableware designs which are hand painted with acrylic on wood and coated it with epoxy resin to give them a crystal finish.
She arrived in Oman in 2007 when her husband who works with the oil and gas got a posting here. She later moved to Indonesia, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But her mind always stayed back with Oman and finally was lucky enough to be back again in 2012.
She works on wood and canvas using bright and vibrant colours and a line of artistic tableware like trays, placemats, coasters, trivets and lazy Susans. Her work has been mainly figurative and developed special interest for Arabian architecture, introducing many elements of Omani culture to her paintings. Earlier, she used to paint wall murals and did many residential murals in Muscat. She recently exhibited wall art at her first solo exhibition titled ‘Latin view of Arabia.’
“Oman is very different to where I hail from but I loved it since day one. Everything is beautiful out here and from an eye of an artist, I get inspiration from everywhere,” she says.
“I like to experiment different mediums and not only use acrylics. I also use oils whenever I want to paint portraits or I just feel I want a special or different effect. I enjoy painting on canvas and wood and also on walls when I paint murals.”
Rebeca finds many similarities between Muscat and Barranquilla, her home town, a city in northern Colombia bordering the Caribbean ocean. “My home town has warm weather, kind people, and is reputed for its music and famous carnival, with all its colours and happiness from the Caribbean.” All her paintings show vibrant colours of her home town, where people are known to be happy and enjoy dancing.
Rebeca conducts art workshops for children at the Muscat Art Gallery where she introduces Pablo Picasso, Van Gogh, Joan Miro, Frida Khalo to budding painters. “It was very rewarding to see how the kids grow their passion for art inspired by the big masters,” she recollects.
Rebeca’s studio in Qurum sees frenetic activity in the mornings when she is busy completing a work. She created a series called ‘Arabian Towns,’ which included many elements of the Omani and Middle Eastern architecture and culture blended with Latin American colours. The series were very popular and turned out instant hits during her first solo exhibition. It is easy to find some of Rebeca’s wall paintings and murals around Muscat in many private residences and commercial buildings.
Born in an artistic family, Rebeca was exposed to art since a very young age. Her father was an architect and musician, while her mother a teacher at the fine arts college, which naturally influenced her artistic journey.
Rebeca has set a long-term project of opening an art boutique where people can go and choose her wall art and also view artistic homeware collection. She enjoys going to the beach and enjoying family time while not working.