Saturday, February 04, 2023 | Rajab 12, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS

In every walk of life our dreams and innovative ideas have to come from somewhere. Where does our inspiration come from? Who inspires us to be the best we can be? What makes us who we are?


Standing on the shoulders of giants’ exhibition explores portraiture through iconography. It portrays six individuals, from different walks of life. Alongside them are portraits of their heroes. Those who have inspired and influenced them to follow their dreams.


Heather Ford, is a portray artist who instilled the love of arts to her students at Sultan Private School. Her goal is to teach her students all about the Omani artists who were working to establish an artistic foundation in the Sultanate at the time. Sadly, she had to leave the country in 2018 but one thought overwhelmed her mind and she constantly dreamed about having her own exhibition. Four and a half years later, she came back exhibiting her works. Her exhibition features six young men who have big dreams and have chosen their careers. They are in their position now because of the people who inspired them; One is standing on the shoulders of his father, another one standing on the shoulders of the artist who he loves.


“I am standing on the shoulders of Oman. I wouldn’t be here if I wouldn’t been inspired by this country’s people, culture and beautiful nature. I feel that I belong here and blessed to be back”, explained Heather.


Heather adds “Those six young men are really important in my life. My son, my student, my nephew, my son’s friend who I have known forever, my best friends’ adopted son, and the scuba diver who I have known him since I was a baby. All of them chose different careers and they all live in different countries.”


Amjad is Heather’s students and he is the son of the Omani artist Hassan Meer. "My role model has to be my father”, says Amjad. “For the past three years I have been studying at Florida International University, and as I reflect, and look back on my childhood, I feel a deep sense of gratitude and love. I was brought up with my brothers and sisters in a lively and vibrant home that centred around my immediate and extended family. It's an Omani tradition that everyone gets together, often at mealtimes, and my fondest memories are those that usually come from these special gatherings and the sharing of food. However, my father is not my chosen role model for this reason alone - he is much, much more. My father, Hassan Meer, is a highly acclaimed Omani artist, mentor and curator who is at the forefront of Oman's contemporary art scene and I am continually inspired by his innovative ways of working, all of which revolves around Oman's rich culture and heritage. His paintings, photography and installations are often linked to his spiritual beliefs, his childhood memories and those of my great grandfather's house where he was raised. When my father was growing up, art was not considered important in schools, but art was his passion and in his heart. He worked really hard to get an art scholarship”.


Jordan Ford, the featured doctor, said “I completed my medical degree in 2014 and started my training in General Practice four years later, I was in the midst of my GP training when the pandemic hit - overnight we were switched from face to face appointments to a telephone system with little access to personal protective equipment (PPE). I feel honoured to do this demanding job which continues to surprise and fascinate me on a daily basis. I am therefore very grateful to Lord Robert Winston, professor, medical doctor, pioneer in fertility studies, author and TV presenter, for providing the inspiration that I was longing for as a 10 year old boy."


While the diver stands on the shoulders of his twin brother “Stamatis” . “We were born on 12th October 1987, early in the morning, I am told, and we were both big or small enough to fit in the palms of our father's hands. I was luckier than most; I knew that from a very early age. I had, and still have, amazing siblings, but in Sam I have my other half, my sounding board, my rock and inspiration. Why is he my inspiration? Because he is Sam. He's younger but wiser, grounded and calmer. We now run a successful diving academy, for locals and tourists, and I couldn't be more proud. He's simply Sam."


The exhibition runs at Stal Gallery. You can follow the artist at her Instagram @heatheraford1


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