Chinese author, Yang Erche Namu, popularly known as Namu, who is keenly followed as a traveller, has been exploring the Sultanate of Oman, taking travel notes.
“I landed in Oman and I have been just exploring places. It has been so exciting. There is so much to see and there is also similarities [to where I came from]. I am a mountain person from the Himalayan region, and I can see familiar things here,” Namu said.
She enjoyed exploring Al Jabal Al Akhdhar, Nizwa, Muscat, Muttrah Souq, and the different museums, and is yet to explore the desert of Oman but looks forward to the experience as she has been to the Sahara Desert during her travels.
“Wherever I go, it is a must for me to visit museums and explore the art scene. Art is part of the culture,” she pointed out.
“The Museum, Oman Across Ages in Manah, was amazing as it has brought about the narration of history using technology. I spent three hours there,” she said.
She added, “I did not know much about Oman. I just heard it is developing and might be expensive because everything is imported. But all that changed once I arrived. I love the water here.”
She added, “I saw the lush farms in Qurayat and it reminded me of my hometown farms, although it is impossible to see mango trees up where we stay as the altitude is so high. I saw the vegetables grown here and ate the fruits too. The Falaj system and the flowing water are beautiful. Oman is still a virgin land, but I hope it retains this uniqueness and does not get exposed to commercial tourism.”
Namu’s journey to explore the world began at a young age. Her aspirations began as a young girl sitting by the Lake Lugu and playing with her friends in her hometown. She would watch the migratory birds arrive and wonder where they came from and where they go when the season changed.
“I just knew I had to see the lands beyond our mountains,” she said.
By the time she was 13, she quenched her thirst to move by walking through the mountain path for seven days to reach a destination that opened doors to the world with her talent.
She became the first member of the matrilineal minority in China to win a gold medal. At the age of thirteen, she won the gold medal in the folk song competition in the Great Hall of the People in Tian’anmen Square in Beijing.
She graduated by majoring in vocality at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and Chinese Language, becoming the first female college student in the history of her clan.
As the youngest singer in the Beijing National Song and Dance Troupe, she participated in the most important Spring Festival Gala in China.
She sojourned in San Francisco, USA, for six years. And this is when she studied fashion.
In 1989, she published her personal autobiography, “Out of the Matrilineal Clan”, which successfully made her hometown in the mountains known to the world and became a tourist hotspot.
She has gone on to publish 18 books, including autobiographies, lifestyle books, and travel books, and they have been translated into more than a dozen languages. She was the seventh Chinese writer to have imprinted her handprint on Hollywood Boulevard in the United States.
But in Oman, in addition to enjoying traveling after the pandemic, she has been able to rekindle her passion for the arts.
“I have my dream project taking place overlooking Lake Lugu—it is an art museum called Voice of Women. The museum will feature art by Chinese female artists as well as international artists. What has been wonderful is that two artists from Oman and two artists based in Oman are donating their work to the museum with their unique message to women. Sometimes a woman needs just a sentence to motivate her,” she explained.
Artwork by pioneer artist Maryam al Zedjali, renowned photographer Dalia al Bassami, Oman-based Radhika Hamlai, who has been expanding from canvas to fabric to textile, and Elizabeth Davis who has been capturing her inspiration of Oman on canvas, mats, and glass will be displayed at the Art Museum, Voice of Women.