Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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An ode to Omani heritage in bloom


Following the enchanting curtains drawn on the triumphant execution of Bloom Oman, an event that celebrated Oman’s rich cultural heritage through the language of flowers, joyous smiles adorned the faces of all attendees.

Particularly elated was Madhvi Ramesh Khimji, the Honorary President of the World Association for Floral Artists (WAFA) Oman, who turned her dream into reality by bringing this international event to Oman and hosting it with remarkable success. The four-day International Flower Arrangement Conference held at the National Museum served as a platform for fostering creativity and cultural exchange in the vibrant world of floral art.

The Museum collaborated with WAFA, engaging over 80 floral artists from 18 countries. The event, which concluded on February 1, left Madhvi reflecting on the transformative potential of Oman. She emphasised, “Through Bloom Oman, we aim to project Oman’s identity onto the global canvas. This event is more than just flowers; it’s a narrative of our traditions and an invitation for the world to witness the artistic prowess within our borders.”

Madhvi, instrumental in elevating Oman’s standing in WAFA, led a captivating floral demonstration showcasing Oman’s mountains, expressing confidence in Oman’s potential to emerge as a prominent flower destination. The demo captured the colors, textures, and majesty of Oman’s diverse landscape.

She extended her gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik and expressed sincere appreciation to Jamal Al Moosawi, Secretary-General of The National Museum of Oman, and his entire team for their invaluable support in providing Bloom Oman with a distinguished venue.

The final day featured a live artistic presentation of floral arrangements by Phubast Chesdmethee, an international floral consultant from Thailand, followed by a fashion show titled ‘Beyond Blossoms.’ According to Phubast, “Oman’s abundant natural resources, highlighted by Bloom Oman, were showcased in a floral demonstration and fashion show at The National Museum. Using indigenous materials such as palm leaves, date tree trunks, branches, dried leaves, and local grapefruit, the floral installations attained a unique international standard, adding an exceptional touch to the event.”

Participants, including Christiane Heidemarie from Singapore and Madhu Shah with Helen Mitchell from Australia, shared their delight at presenting their works in the majestic setting of the National Museum of Oman. The diverse floral creations showcased an array of materials, including Oman-sourced date palm spathe, date husks, cider leaves, port castles, and international elements like Astelia leaves from New Zealand, banksia, and stirlingia.

Kitty Gallagher from Ireland, Chairperson of WAFA, drew inspiration from period styles, translating them into contemporary floral arrangements. She based her works on period styles and on how to translate them to contemporary styles. Her work is inspired by various historical periods, including the Victorian, Tudor, Dutch, and Flemish eras.

Poornima Subramanian from Oman highlighted innovative works with cold porcelain flowers, using locally made starch and glue from orchid flowers. Shahimah Sayeed and Amtul Rauf Khan from Pakistan presented coral reefs from Ormara, east of Gwadar, along with plants sourced from Pakistan, winning 12 prizes at the competitions.

Besides Oman, some of the participants came from countries namely US, UK, India, Pakistan, Thailand, South Korea, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Kenya, Mexico, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, UAE, Canada, and Belgium. There were also male participants from UAE, UK, and US with Warren W-Cha Wong and Lee Wan Cheng from Hong Kong adding a unique touch to the event.

Key contributors to the success of ‘Bloom Oman’ include Rita Chaitanya Khimji as Secretary, Poornima Subramanian as Treasurer, and Devyani Sampat as Hospitality In-charge. Looking ahead, the next WAFA World Show is scheduled for March 2027 in Sydney, with the 14th WAFA Australia World Seminar set for August 2025, where the beautiful wildflowers of the West Coast of Australia will take centre stage.

Pictures by Saetae Kim

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