Anna Dudchenko is yet another contributor to Oman’s artistic scene but has a diversity to her artistic portfolio that sets her apart from others in her realm.
“Being an artist is a never-ending process and you learn and discover more from experience,” says the multi-faceted artiste, as she emphasized the versatility of her own experiences.
“I spent 7 years at the art school, and 5 years at the university studying Fine Art and Art History, and now, having been in the art business for 20 years, I feel I can continue to grow, develop, and diversify.”
Arriving in Muscat for a short-term contract during 1999, the young artist’s life, and artistic journey, took a new turn, and she made the Sultanate her second home.
“My first solo show was in the capital in 2004. It sold out, and I realized that I could make a living out of my art. Since then, I’ve had thirteen solo
exhibitions, participated in numerous art fairs, illustrated books, worked as a consultant on private and commercial projects, curated exhibitions for other artists and art galleries, locally and internationally, and developed my clients’ private collections," she said.
Focusing on this latter perspective, Dudchenko commented, “Working as an art consultant can be quite challenging, but it is something I enjoy more and more these days. One of my Muscat-based projects required the production of more than 700 artworks of various styles and concepts.
Coordinating ten very talented and diverse artists, printing specialists, framers, technical staff, took more than a year to complete. However, I found the work personally, professionally, and artistically invigorating.”
More recently, she has worked with local hotel operators such as the internationally renowned Al Bustan, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, and the Marriott Hotel Muscat, to develop their identities. In one local establishment, this involved creating themed artworks for their Jazz Lounge, searching for, and reproducing, vintage images of iconic Dixieland, swing, jazz and blues musicians and singers, of which she says, “It has created a whole new vibe, a new atmosphere, and it is fast becoming a popular venue in Muscat now.”
Speaking of vibes, Dudchenko doesn’t want to be tied down to one particular genre, or material, saying, “The materials and the genre are a consequence of the artistic process, which starts with generating ideas, developing concepts, and then choosing the style and media that emerge from the process to implement the ideas. I work in different media from the traditional oils, acrylics, pencils, and inks, to contemporary spray paints, markers, epoxy, and pastes, to the more organic crushed rocks,
sand, glass, clay, crystals, corks, and ropes.”
The world of art, and its cross-social appreciation, have never been quite so diverse, with Picasso, Warhol, Lowry, Vettriano, Hirst, Murakami, Hockney, Emin, Freud, Banksy, and other artists all contributing to a global ‘rebirth,’ of artistic appreciation. So, who or what inspires Dudchenko?
“Architecture, books, music, theatre, all the creative/artistic things I guess, but I am finding myself more drawn to, or inspired, by nature of late. It’s the tranquillity and peace, that fosters an open mind, new ideas, and nature also fits well with my other passion – cycling, especially in the South of France... in the summertime is such paradise.”
So, what does the future hold for this artist cum consultant, cum curator, cum, I guess entrepreneur?
“Well, quite a few new hotels are being constructed in Muscat, and with the opening of borders and the return of tourists, hopefully, some of them will need the services of an art consultant. I am currently working on an exciting new project, and once we are back to normal after the pandemic, I will start organizing exhibitions again.”
Not simply an artist, Anna Dudchenko embodies the origins of a consultant, from the 16th century French ‘consultare,’ meaning “to take counsel, meet and consider,” and curator, from the Latin ‘cura,’ which means “to care for,” in carving a niche for herself in the Sultanate, offering yet another thread in its rich multi-cultural tapestry.