A view on heritage

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His works adorned the walls of prominent men — exhibited in homes and hallways of offices of royal emirs, ministers, government officials, even museums inside and outside of Saudi Arabia.
These same pieces of art have been recognized in a number of occasions and festivals and now, they, together with the artist himself, are in the Sultanate to tantalise residents of Oman and remind them of the importance and beauty of the shared heritage of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate.
The Omani Society for Fine Arts (OSFA) opened yesterday the personal exhibition of Saudi artist Abdulaziz Khalil al Shuwaish at the organization’s headquarter in Muscat.
Held under the auspices of Shaikh Hamad al Mamari, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, the exhibition titled ‘A view on heritage’ was organized in cooperation with the Embassy of KSA to expand the bridges of cooperation and further connection between the Omani and Saudi artists.
The launch of this exhibition also activates the regional artistic movement and promote it globally. It provides an opportunity to showcase the talents of the artist and for them to exchange technical expertise.
Al Shuwaish’s contribution to the art movement has been immense and this contribution expands into supporting other artists by agreeing to supervise many art galleries.
A great observer of details, Al Shuwaish’s art focus on what people often neglect to notice. What captures Al Shuwaish’s attention are old buildings and houses and he takes time in documenting the tiny details of each building that captures his fancy — from the different color of the windows, to creases on doors and cracks on walls, he also pays attention to the narrow alleys between houses.
Some of his art also features marine environment of KSA and he has gone as far as showcasing in his work the special clothing men wear at sea, the ships they used and he create a narrative in his works that his work also narrates the delicate tales of the past.
“The traditional heritage of Saudi Arabia varies — from handicrafts to costumes to ethnic dishes,” Al Shuwaish explained.
“Folklore is a key element in the enchanting tourism experience of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In this exhibition, I tried to showcase all the different aspects of heritage in KSA —from houses, clothing, handicrafts, and even the different sites that can be found there,” he said.
For Al Shuwaish, “art is another promotional tool of tourism as it helps deliver a message about the aesthetic features of a place.”
What is also interesting about Al Shuwaish is that his credentials do not stop at painting. He is also a plastic artist and a researcher specializing in heritage. In fact, he has taken specialized courses in heritage and tradition.
Al Shuwaish has contributed to the documentation of several historical sites, folkloric handicrafts, and folkloric customs in many areas in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council’s states.
He has also participated in several plastic art galleries and festivals in and out of Saudi Arabia. He has also launched several personal galleries, such as ‘My Country’s Legacy’ and ‘Our Traditions’.
He published several cultural pieces such as ‘Pages from the Heritage’, ‘Ad Derya’, ‘Qatar’s Heritage’, ‘Kuwait’s Heritage’, and ‘The Emirate’s Heritage’. These are in addition to chairing the plastic art committee in the National Festival for Heritage and Culture (Al-Janadrya Festival) for five consecutive times.
Make sure to catch Al Shuwaish’s art work displayed at OSFA hall this week.