A sweeping look at the artworks currently displayed in Gallery Sarah would automatically remind one of a nostalgic, happy past. The “Faces of Memory” solo exhibit by prominent and multi-awarded Omani artist Enaam Ahmed launched March 6 presents an array of paintings that narrate dramatic scenes of traditional women doing different chores, slices of life taken from daily scenes, including the performance of dances and traditional crafts.
They were happy memories if one is to base it on the colours and the scenes depicted. Enaam, for most of her work, used light colours successfully communicating the heavy influence of her tradition into her being an artist.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sayyid Mohammed Bin Thuwaini Al Said, the collection was a testament to Enaam’s experience and perseverance taking her art form to a higher level of creation, originality and excellence.
While daily scenes on other artists’ hand may come out flat, Enaam brought her work to a different dimension.
An intellectual, well-researched artist, and using the words crafted by her team, “she brought up the old scenes in an expressive style and used expressionist brushwork to narrate her stronger connection with the childhood memories.”
“The idea came to me when nostalgia took me to my beautiful memories of my childhood, which are still etched in my imagination as the years go by,” she said.
It’s easy to follow her train of thoughts as her work clearly demonstrates them.. One of her paintings is of a woman huddled by a sewing machine, the colours and the brushwork communicating the sense of ease and lightness while on another scene, another woman trying to fix a piece of clothing is softly peppered by light colours the clothing of which is seldom seen nowadays.
“These paintings only attempt to embody that nostalgia. They reminded me of the many things when I was just starting. The faces on the paintings, they reminded me of how I was surrounded by their gentleness,” she said.
She added, “The colours used, they were from memories of a beautiful stage in our lives. They are of different events shared by different people but they are slices of daily life that are embroidered into our customs, our heritage and our authentic traditions and communicated often in our folk songs,” she said.
Enaam graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Interior in 1998 having studied in Kuwait. She’s refined her craft since then has went on to participate in several art exhibitions not only in Oman and the GCC but including countries like Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, China, Iran, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and Chicago in the United States.
Her first exhibition was held in 2010 in Bait al Zubair and from that first exhibition, she went on to collect awards and different prizes for her work including an appreciation prize at the Women and Creativity Exhibition in Bahrain in 2000, and the jury prize at the First Gulf Festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2013.
Enaam is known to usually draw inspiration from ancient texts of bygone civilisations within the region. Her previous works had elements she learned from research of Assyrian, Ugarit, Aramaic, Byblos, Palmyrenean civilizations including Aad alphabets.
For this exhibit, however, Enaam stayed very close to home and while one of her pieces is that of a girl dressed in a traditional Omani dress arranging flowers on a string while a cat lies patiently by her feet, it communicates very well her thoughts and hope that these beautiful memories will not all die and some of the good ones will be here to stay for good.
“Faces from Memory” exhibition will run from March 6 till April 7 2019. Gallery Sarah will be open from 9:30 am till 4:30 pm, Sunday to Thursday. For information, they can be contacted at email@example.com or at +96822084747.
YERU EBUEN & TITASH CHAKRABORTY