The latest issue of London-based magazine features the Sultanate’s of Oman blossoming creative art scene, which is unknown in international circles. Sekka spotlights the nation's emerging and established artists, photographers, writers, poets, fashion designers and more, who, as Sekka’s founders Manar and Sharifah al Hinai describe, as "creative giants".
Sekka, is devoted to art, culture, literature and opinions from the Arab world, with a focus on the Arab Gulf States.
On the cover page is a colourful illustration of Abdulaziz Al Hosni, Israa al Balushi, Mohammed al Attar, Mahmood al Zadjali, and Majeda al Hinai. It was done by Omani illustrator Widad al Harthy, who is also featured on the cover alongside her counterparts.
"It was really important to us when we were putting together the issue that the artwork on the cover honours Omani creatives, reflects the vibrant creative scene and be made by an Omani artist to ensure representation," explained Sekka’s Managing Storyteller, Sharifah.
The decision has left a long lasting impact on the cover stars, who are collectively making their global debut through the issue. "It's a big honour [to be featured on the cover] a dream I had as a kid that has come true," describes 30-year-old multidisciplinary artist Al Attar, whose digital illustrations, which challenge preconceptions about masculinity, are featured inside the issue in a visual spread.
"The fact that I was chosen among many beautiful talents is a motivation for me to keep on growing. We need the creative field to be taken more seriously. This is a big step forward to take the creative scene to a higher level," he added.
Al Balushi, a conceptual photographer who discusses the landscape of conceptual photography in Oman in the pages of the issue, said, "As a creative, you put your work out for the public and it automatically becomes an extension of you. It's refreshing to be recognised as one of the “Creative Giants” of the industry and it's been a pleasure being part of a well-knit and renowned community throughout Sekka's earliest online publications."
The loyal Sekka reader added, "For Sekka's team to focus solely on Oman's creative scene, speaks volumes, it's the first stepping stone for all of us."
Hassan Meer and Alia al Farsi, who have been inspirational to younger, emerging artist, appear in a joint feature in the issue. "I was very happy to be a part of Sekka’s edition about Oman," said Meer, one of Oman’s most iconic artists and the founder of Muscat’s prestigious Stal Gallery.
"Oman’s art scene is very dynamic and very young and it deserves a lot of attention. I’m happy that Sekka is featuring art in Oman. It will add a lot of attention to the movement of contemporary art in Oman," he said.
Likewise, Al Farsi, one of Oman’s leading female artists and the founder of Alia Gallery states, "Sekka Magazine has done an exceptional job with introducing Omani artists to the world. This issue is akin to a mini encyclopedia about the art movement in the Sultanate, and it will have a special place in our library at Alia Gallery. I am grateful to the Sekka team for producing this special issue, and I’m elated to be a part of it."
She added, "When the work and story of any artist is published in a publication of this magnitude, this not only promotes the work of the artist, but it also increases the material and sentimental value of the artists’ work in art circles."
The issue also honours numerous other Omanis creatives, including fashion designers Amal al Raisi, Nawal al Hooti and Aisha al Kharusi, as well as novelist Bushra Khalfan and poet Aisha al Saifi, whose poem "Son of the Mountains, Daughter of the Prairies" was translated into English for the issue.
"There are so many more creatives we wanted to include. There are so many brilliant people to cover in Oman, but, unfortunately the pages of our magazine are limited," said Manar, who serves as Sekka’s Storyteller-In-Chief.