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Zawraq Collective: An initiative of two women to support local artists in Oman


By Zuwaina Al Sulimani

Photos by Waleed Juma

“Your local lifeboat — shaping what art can be” is the startling point of Zawraq Collective. The team is made up of two amazing women who are fond of theatre and cross-genre art in Muscat.

Zaima al Adawi and Noor al Mahrouqi have created a space for youth to express their desires, expectations and talents through the creation of non-conventional art. They have also provided local artists with a place where they can “break down preconceived notions of the shape art must take and what it must communicate.”

Their vision is to create a network of artists who seek the exceptional, not limiting them to specific artistic mediums opening the space for them to reshape, recreate and reimage what art can be.

Zawraq Collective held their first art exhibition on January 2022, gathering different local artists in Fikra Tourism, Muttrah.

“You can’t be here” was the name of the exhibition where artists were asked about “what would you make if people could hear, taste, touch or smell your art?”. It explores the notion that as the pandemic has paralyzed our senses, what artists can create if audiences could do more than looking at their arts?

Many local artists participated in this art exhibition contributing in the change of the way of how people can look at their art. Among them, Razan al Humaidi and Umaima al Hinai, who created a piece of art named “Scent diary” — a collection of smells common to most who experienced the pandemic in Oman.

Tanya Shamil created a piece of art called “I Exist Where You Stand”. It is “a multimedia installation that explored the harrowing currents of isolation, social detachment, and numbness that punctuate people’s lives when they are forcibly cut off from the world for extended periods of time.”

Samah al Ansari and Bashayir al Naimi created “Wasted Youth Shopping” as a mini mart designed to remind us of the lockdowns, when people were only allowed to go out to buy groceries. People felt relief and comfort in buying from supermarkets as outdoors activities were forbidden. The two artists focused on reshaping food items that gave people temporary joy and evoked different emotions on them.

The exhibition was admired by many people as it was attended by over 8,000 visitors within ten days among them were some notable personalities like Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidy and Sayyid Khalid bin Hamad al Busaidy.

The main sponsor of the exhibition was “Global Shapes Community Muscat”, and the silver sponsors are the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Tunes and Jotun.

This exhibit was followed by the much talked about installation held at the Muttrah Fort on March 19 to 20, 2022 sponsored by Muttrah Fort in collaboration with Teepee and Sekka.

It was named as “Ahlam el Asr” which means the dreams of the afternoon. The exhibit was well lauded for making use of the space giving it a new life other other than the history it already proudly embraces.

It was for all who are longing for the past and wanting to transcend time and place, and to live in an exceptional experience in Muttrah Fort.

The exhibition was presented as a utopia of a nostalgic past mingling different traditional and modern cultures together.

The artists who showcased their works included Majda al Hinaei, Safa al Balushi and Hafsa.

Zaima and Noor are just beginning in their journey to create a space where artists in Oman can take their art to a higher level. With two memorable events in their sleeve, their next venture is highly anticipated as those who already attended are fully aware that the two are championing the voiceless artists of Oman.

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