Sunday, May 28, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 7, 1444 H
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A pictorial journey of Oman


PIETRO Palummieri is a sculptor and painter of Apulian origin from southern Italy. A resident of Maruggio in the province of Taranto, he captures his primary inspiration from the local territory to create his art pieces.

Palu, as he is artistically known, returned to Italy in August last after a memorable six-month stay in the Sultanate.

A prophilic artist, his love for the Sultanate made him come up with works of nature, culture connecting with the rural life in Apulia.

He uses graphical and pictorial techniques diverse from one another. His works are on water-based colours, oil, and red lead pencil tip. For sculptures he utilises a special type of concrete using terracotta as a starting point.

His journey to the Sultanate opened the doors to an enchanting and mysterious world that he decided to immortalise his works of art to exhibit them.

Stationed in Muscat during the pandemic, two of his works were inspired during Covid-19. The first one had a frightened mother hugging her daughter to defend her just like a mask hugs the face defending from the pandemic. The second one had a pregnant woman representing a metaphor of human life born after sorrow.

Palù in his travel diary of Oman demonstrates similarities between the Sultanate and Apulia. “Apulia in the south of Italy is a barren region and until a few years ago life was extremely difficult and strewn with obstacles of every type.”

The idea of the diary came up from his desire to recollect his memory of the beautiful places during his visit to Oman.

Palu is pleased to have the opportunity to create a diary of his travels. Every brush stroke tells a story and his 30 watercolours depict the hard times which the people overcome with determination.

He recollects: “I didn’t want to forget anything about those small villages and their suggestive landscapes. I chose to seize those images with my brushstrokes, guided only by the silence of that warm atmosphere.”

He explains the locations and narrates a familiar atmosphere. For the first time he saw the respect people have towards women, so elegant in their black veils and his mind immediately took him back to the Apulian women in their long black dresses.

He says the Sultanate reminds him of Puglia mainly for its atmosphere: “The first time I saw the elegance of women with black veils, I immediately remembered Apulian women I met as a child. And then the summer silences of our southern areas similar to those of Oman,” he recollects.

Another familiar instant were the summer silences that one gets to experience in the South of Italy which are similar to Oman.

He studied the ancient and forgotten towns of Izki, Al Hamra, Manah, Ibra where buildings are composed of brick and clay together with palm wood and hay.

In his private studio in Maruggio, figures of men hugging under the incessant rain and small decorative trellis adorn the room.

Federica Favi, Italian Ambassador to the Sultanate, and an admirer of Palu’s art says his creations stem directly from the heart with no interference from the mind, “a force of life flows through his works untamed and unconstrained.”

His art style is the way in which he expresses himself.

Defined as an expressionist artist, Palu dwells on the representation of the emotional side of things. “My creative process is an intimate and private moment. I always create with a free spirit both in the choice of subjects and the technique used to make them come alive.”

His works are scattered all over from Vatican City to parliamentary buildings in Rome while several others can be found in Florence, Naples, Messina, Bologna, Taranto, Maruggio and also the Sultanate.

As an artist he feels that Oman is a country to be known, appreciated and valued.

He prefers sculpting, as he sees himself as some sort of a wall built from different stones, with each stone representing a different technique, namely drawings in ink, pencil, watercolours, oil colours and clay.

For him, style is a way to express himself and he cannot explain his style because it is legible in his works.

As a parting shot, he says his best work is yet to come. Having won laurels at various global exhibitions and contests, Palu is eager to hold a solo exhibition in Muscat this winter if the pandemic situation improves.


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