Art an anchor of hope

The thoughts of dancing palm fronds often transport Oksana Prozorova from Muscat to Salalah. The longing for the land of coconut palms finds shape and colour in this Russian-British artist’s paintings.
“I find inspiration in different forms of beauty that surround me, right from the colours of flowers to the shapes of simple objects. This is why I revel in painting the palm trees,” confesses Oksana.
Her first paintings featuring palm trees were produced during the time she lived in Salalah. Now, seven years later and living in Muscat, she still paints them a lot.
As a result of her experience of living in Dhofar, palm trees and seashells became new subjects for her paintings.
She had worked as an English teacher at the College of Applied Sciences (CAS) Salalah for 5 years.
Before coming to the Middle East, she painted mostly flowers.
Painting them is a source of energy for her, which comes from a variety of colours and shapes.
What amazes Oksana is how different ‘generations’ of coconuts can coexist on a single tree simultaneously.
“You may see full-sized nuts, a group of medium-sized unripe ones and then another cluster of orange baby-coconuts,” she explains.
Her genre is primarily still life and landscape with acrylic as the medium.
Her style is expressionist and semi-abstract and characterised by bold colours with a joyful feel.
“I am always learning and trying out new techniques and approaches,” she says.
She usually paints during weekends when she is free from her busy job as an English language teacher at Sultan Qaboos University (SQ.

During the stay at home period, she found herself even busier than earlier. Like many others, this has been a time for her to learn new things and adjust to new reality.
Supporting the students, considering that many of them had experienced anxiety related to on-line education and unusual life circumstances, which become an important part of her teaching job. As the semester ends, she says it further brings great satisfaction to hear from students that her help and support were appreciated during these unsettling times.

“Finding balance between things that need to be done, caring for my loved-ones (even though virtually) as well as physical and mental self-care has been an important lesson I learnt through lockdown. My art has definitely been the anchor in a quiet harbour which helped stay connected to nature.”
In one of her lockdown paintings she featured a coconut tree in pink lighting. This, Oksana says, was an attempt to bring some cheer to those of us who have found ourselves in isolation and confined to our own spaces.

“I stepped out of my comfort zone and introduced my art to a wider circle of colleagues and friends using e-mail and social media,” she says. “So, despite the current difficulties we face, I feel I am lucky because I have been able to draw some comfort from expressing myself through art.”