Muscat-based artist Ibrahim Gailani showcased his work at “Art Vancouver” the premium Western Canada art festival that draws crowds in the thousands, becoming the first artist to represent Oman at the venue.
Held in over four-days from April 19 – 22 at the Vancouver Convention Center, the event brought over hundreds of participants from art galleries to international exhibiting artists. From the Middle-East and North Africa region, only four participants made it through — one from Sudan, one from Turkey, one from Qatar, and Gailani representing Oman.
The opening night saw thousands pack into the convention center with a huge queue tailing back to get in (being one of the hottest tickets to get in). Local movers and shakers and celebrities packed an auditorium where the show opened with a special “Face of Art” runway show where all participating artists had to walk a catwalk holding their paintings marking the opening of the Art Vancouver Festival.
For Gailani, it was a unique experience sharing “I felt like we were all rock stars walking on stage to cheering crowds when they announced my name and said from Oman, a huge applause went out as I was one of the few artists that had travelled a long distance to be there.”
The painting that got the most amount of attention was “The Seeking Lips.’ It was a subject about the search of that one true love “who got away”, and how a person would move mountains to seek that true love.
People resonated so much with that painting, took selfies with it even read the graffiti in the background of the paintings.
“I feel that it’s my use of bold colours and old-school graffiti that make the painting different. A lot of curators told me that it is like Pop-Art & street art met on canvas,” Gailani shared. He added that he was inspired by the early manifestations of graffiti when it was a venting space of those who felt marginalized and used words to protest.
Keeping in line with that tradition, he writes on his painting what his characters feel and hear. He dives into their demons and pulls their guts out for audience’s display.
Along with showcasing his painting, Gailani also took art on “Art talks’ expressing his aesthetic and inspiration to audiences at the event.
This is Gailani’s 6th Exhibition in North America and his first in Canada.