Shoes hanging from the ceiling, walls dripping with colourful paints, and corridors lined up with several dozens of art — it was apt to be described as a convention of non-conventional artists and despite the chaos, it was reeking with pure, passionate, uncontrolled art.
A form of expression, art isn’t meant to be bound by rules and boundaries and it is for this very belief that a group of young emerging artists came together to create a platform for artists looking to work out of the box.
“The Community” is a platform for multi-cultural Oman based-artists so they can all come together and create a movement which will help shape the art scene in Oman. They hosted their first exhibition in the first week of February at the Bait Muzna Gallery in Old Muscat.
A creative space like this that isn’t bound by the traditional forms of expression and art is vital, especially in this day and age. Omani-based artists have so much potential, and the lights should be shed on those creatives to push them in doing more and gaining recognition, learning how to express and find their own style and develop it till Oman becomes the hub for art.
While it was the artists who were front and centre of the whole event, the success of it would not have been possible without the constant support of other local talents and sponsors — Cure8, Just Jams, True Story Tent, Tara Talks, Sayyida Susan (Bait Muzna Gallery), Jotun (for providing free paints), Talabat, Karak Gholam and Redbull.
Around 14 artists took part in the exhibition and to ensure that there was no descrimination of talent, two special guests from the down syndrome association Bushra and Marwan, who were the creative geniuses behind the colourful pillars on the main floor, also took part in the exhibit.
We rounded up the exhibition to know some of the artists a little bit better.
Abdulrahim Al Kindi
The winner of the Stal Young Emerging Artist Prize in 2017, is an experimental/conceptual artist that uses satirical art to express his nonconforming perspectives with ideologies that revolve around societal norms and pressure encompassed in religiosity. He has an inclination towards incorporating Islamic references in his art, much like the piece he showcased at the exhibition.
Aisha Al Bakry
A member of the Cure8 team is a process-based artist whose approach is the same to that of any formal education; heavily researched, and analytical. She uses this method to be able to tackle subjects and break things down on a practical, logical and philosophical level. This was the first time she had taken part in an art exhibition, and her piece titled “I am not a Wallflower” was a conversation on the exploration of the limitations of thought and expression amongst young Muslims.
Ali Al Sharji
The Founder and Curator of The Community is a conceptual photographer/art director, who started off writing poems at the age of 12, exploring the subject of death and what it means to no longer exist. Wanting to communicate his emotions and thoughts and translate them visually and that is when he found photography. With more than eight years of experience in photography, his work contemplates the integration of culture with changing times. Each picture tells a story, whether it is captured in the wilderness or otherwise with a modern twist and a captivating subject in focus. His pictures are a depiction of the status quo in the Arab region.
Asim Al Naamani
A singer-songwriter and music producer currently based in Australia. Growing up in a musical family, Asim was influenced by both Arabic and English compositions, leading him to start beatboxing and rapping from an early age in Muscat’s underground Hip-Hop scene. Through this upbringing, he developed a love of music and breathes his culture into his sound. He creates a unique fusion of styles that he weaves into his lyricism, performance and production. Asim currently works on blending elements of R&B, Hip-Hop and Acoustic with contemporary beats. He performed a live 20-minute session on the opening night of the exhibition.
Bashayer Al Naaimi
An architectural engineering student, and an aspiring illustrator who strives to express herself and question things with art, using different mediums, from canvases to fabrics. This was also Bashayer’s first experience showcasing her work at an exhibition.
A filmmaker that experiments with themes revolving around traditionalism and modernism, drawing from religious and societal norms to cultural dogmas. He uses realism as a medium to draw a stark contrast between aesthetics and intrinsic values.
Is an abstract figurative visual artist, currently based in Oman. Her process involves occasionally using the help of a projector to render gestural drawings of people in abstracted forms, she likes to leave the figures slightly incomplete to suggest continuity. She then goes on to layer them and extrapolate with mark making lines and blobs of textured paint, markers, and all sorts of mixed media. Her process also involves returning frequently to her scene of colourfully textured madness as though it’s a daily ritual. Almost as if life happens in between moments of brush strokes and distorted figures. A mirrored depiction of her daily life.
A Dadaist creative, most of his works are through juxtapositions of narratives, to provoke a new reality by mixing fiction and non-fiction with a visual art medium. He is the founder of the Muscat-based design studio “Altqadum,” which focuses on the fields of spatial design by designing spaces and objects. Marwan’s participation in this exhibition was with a new medium of using an experimental installation design, to get across his ideas that have accumulated over time through his design practice and creative interest. His concept was built around the human interaction with the surrounding environment, the loss of a community and the disappearing society in a ‘modern’ city.
Sabrina Al Busaidi
The Co-Founder, Curator of The Community and a member of the Cure8 team, is a Fine Arts Graduate from The One Academy in Malaysia. Her work revolves around understanding the self, connecting the dots between the outer (physical) world and the inner (spiritual) world, questioning the bigger picture and using the laws of the universe to understand complicated situations. Her piece titled “Who, What, When, Where and Why” was an audio recording of a monologue. Although this piece was very much a reflection on her life, the questions were simple and relatable to the general public. The option to interact with the piece was also very essential, that if and only if one felt like sharing how one would re-introduce themselves you were welcome to do so. It’s also a way to explore if space plays a big role in our level of acceptance to messages.
Sarah Al Aulaqi
The Founder of Cure8 Art House, is a conceptual mixed media artist, her piece titled “Spacetime” was a re-introduction to her belief, where a positive force and new-found appreciation for creation was created. The spinning dial represented the order in what seems to be randomness and our human need for something bigger when we ourselves are so small in comparison.
Shatha Al Dafai
A self-taught minimal artist who graduated from Sultan Qaboos University in 2016 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Art has been her way to a better Self-Understanding. She believes that whether or not we are aware of it, we allow art to affect our lives one way or another. She finds the journey of creating minimal art fascinating and challenging.
Taher Al Battashi
A visual, conceptual, sonical, and graffiti artist. He began his career as a DJ and was later introduced to the art scene, beginning his journey with acrylic painting and testing out other mediums until he found his love for graffiti. His approach towards creating the art depends upon the space, what surrounds it, who interacts with it, points of view, how much it’s being viewed and how it makes people feel.