For the sheer number of artists in attendance, it definitely can be considered as one of the biggest gatherings of women artists under one roof. The Grand Ballroom of Fraser Suites in Al Ghubra has been transformed into an art gallery perfectly becoming the temporary home of the art pieces seldom seen sitting together in one place.
Beautiful marble sculptures stand side by side with collages painted on the surface of wood while all around, artworks inspired by masters like Frida Kahlo juxtaposed with Arabic calligraphy art.
Covering different art disciplines, the 40 women selected to exhibit some of their works put into the spotlight, the massive contribution they had been making in the art world.
Renowned local and international artists like Maryam al Zadjali, Naela al Mamari, Jamila al Balushi, Sanaa al Humaidi, Shamsa al Harthy, Radhik Hamalay, Somya al Ghraibi, Raya al Manji were the toast of the evening while up and coming new artists also inched their way to being noticed and recognised.
The initiative, held under the auspices of HH Sayyda Alia bint Thuwaini al Said, saw Fraser Suites join hands with the Omani Society of Fine Arts (OSFA) to provide the women artists the platform to showcase what they are capable of and give visitors an opportunity to purchase art pieces that they may take a liking to, as a form of their support.
One of the notable artists for Oman Observer was Narjes Khatoun Heydari, a corporate designer by profession who uses her knack for design in creating traditional Persian artwork called tazhib — using decorative Islamic designs around calligraphy text that complement each other.
Explaining the two paintings that were displayed at the exhibition, the artist said, “The middle calligraphy are two verses from the Holy Quran and the design I created around it was to give it value and importance.” Her creations start in pencil, drawing out the intricate and delicate designs that are not only a skill in itself but also tiresome. To add colour, Narjes uses coloured pastels and tiny, thin and small brushes to add in the extra detailing.
Also present at the event was Shashi Hemant, an expat living in Oman displayed two landscape paintings of the sea and a fort — both symbolic of the Sultanate. Shashi said, “With these paintings, I wanted to project the visual elegance and beauty of this country.”
“Although I have been painting for nearly five years in Oman, since joining OSFA, I gained the opportunity to display my work at the National Museum last year where my artwork was displayed for two months,” she added.
Although this event was hosted in alignment with the Omani Women’s Day, Shashi was grateful that along with locals, expats and their works were given a platform and she believes that this vouches for the welcoming nature and warm hospitality of the Omani people.
Previously featured in Oman Daily Observer, Alma de Ville also had two of her nature pieces, one of which fully made out of urchin needles, take the spot at the exhibit.
Generating an interest among visitors, Alma explained how her pieces come together resonating her previous interview that she was “just a small loop, in a large chain of events when it comes to the presence of these materials.”
Perhaps the only artist who uses wood and marble as her medium, sculpture, and artist Zainab al Sinani showed off her unique art where acrylic paints and collage techniques were made alive on the surface of the wood.
Her work is well-known in the art circles of Oman, and had been gaining many accolades for nearly two decades. Showcasing at various local exhibition, Zainab has also showcased in a couple of regional GCC exhibitions and one in England.
At the sideline of the exhibit, Zainab explained that her process has different steps starting off with acquiring the materials. She uses Omani wood that she slices herself. One sliced and sanded, she cuts, paints, designs and produces a unique work of art on her wood canvas — her two pieces that were displayed at the exhibition, used an interesting combination of colours, textures and of course techniques! Combining collages and painting may not be new, but this done on a slice of a tree trunk is surely rare.
Commenting on the showcase, Vincent Le Gorrec, General Manager of Fraser Suites Muscat said, “We are extremely proud to partner with the Omani Society of Fine Arts in an effort to celebrate the talents of women, as well as the important role they play in building the nation. The exhibition is aimed at motivating women to build self-confidence and providing them with a platform to develop and display their creations. In this way, they are able to make significant contributions to the world of arts, as well as to the heritage of the Sultanate.”
Noor al Suleimani from Jenan -l-Bashaer LLC, Owner Company of Fraser Suites said, “I am extremely glad for the successful inauguration of the event and the various displays that represent each artist’s unique style. We invite everyone, especially those who are particularly interested in creative and visually aesthetic artworks, to visit us for a truly marvellous experience.”
The art exhibition inaugurated last night will run until December 1 and will be open to the public from 9 am onwards.
Yeru Ebuen & Titash Chakraborty