Art you an art lover or afficianado wondering where you can get your art fix?
Throughout history, Oman has been famously known around the globe for its frankincense, dates, coffee and rich culture and heritage. More recently, with more artists taking their work public and global, the Sultanate’s art scene has blossomed — showcasing works of home-grown talents along with artists from here and around the world, many gaining international acclaim. Here are five galleries to visit if you want to learn more about Oman’s art landscape.
Omani Society for Fine Arts (OSFA)
In 1993, in support of the art scene in the Sultanate, the Omani government took the step and established the Omani Society of Fine Arts (OSFA), making it the official arts hub of Oman. It was published by order of his Majesty the Sultan Qaboos (Sultan of Oman), under the umbrella of the Sultan Qaboos Higher Centre for Culture and Science, the Diwan of Royal Court. Omani artists have won several Arab and international prizes for their work since the Omani Society for Fine Arts was established in 1993 as a creative forum. They have become a space where artists can benefit from training courses, competitions, seminars and workshops specialised in various arts areas.
BaiT Al Zubair
A cultural foundation started initially with a private museum, Bait Al Zubair opened its carved wooden doors to the public in 1998. The gallery Funded by its founders, the Zubair family and in 2005 the family established the Bait Al Zubair Foundation as the cultural and social arm of the family-owned business, The Zubair Corporation. Bait al Zubair displays the family’s collection of Omani artefacts that spans a number of centuries and is considered to be the finest that is privately owned.
Especially for those that want a better glimpse into the Sultanate’s cultural past — this exhibition offers ethnographic artefacts that reflect highly specialised inherited skills that define Oman’s society, both past and present. It is one of the country’s architectural icons and in 1999 was the proud recipient of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ Award for Architectural Excellence, the first time it was awarded in Oman.
Stal Gallery & Studio
Stal Art Gallery and Studio promotes the creation, appreciation and engagement of the visual arts in all media in Muscat and the surrounding region. The gallery is popular amongst local artists, both traditional and contemporary as they are open to providing a venue and facilities primarily but not solely for the visual arts, whilst offering the highest standards of design, programme and operation, and form an artistic hub for creation, exhibition and engagement, with a national and international profile. A hub for contemporary artists, the gallery is focused on providing and promoting new work and supporting the development of artists while simultaneously affirming and challenging the public’s appreciation and understanding of contemporary and innovative approaches to the visual arts.
Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art
An exclusive addition to the Omani cultural scene, Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art was opened in January ‘2011 under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq bin Taimour Al Said. The “Old House” is a group of typical Omani houses from the period of 1950 to 1975 that tell the story of the Omanis and their deeply rooted heritage, customs and traditions. The Wedding, the Kitchen and Display Rooms, the Mother and Children’s Room, the Winter Room, the Majlis (Living Room), Musabbeh’s Room describe the earlier Omani lifestyle which still finds echoes in today’s traditions. The museum also includes two other divisions, the strikingly modern, minimalist Art Gallery within the traditional Omani house is intended to showcase Omani and International modern artists to the world. And the Clothes Museum which showcases a collection of traditional local and regional dresses from the past and present set off with modern international costumes.
One of the most significant Art Consultants in the region; Bait Muzna was established by Sayyida Susan Al Said in 2000, and since has been committed to promoting modern contemporary art and preserving the essence of Arab art through various design mediums and commissioning in large projects on the local & international scale. As one of the earliest professional venues for the promotion and display of visual arts in Oman, Bait Muzna endeavours to recognize emerging Omani artists and collaborate them with established Omani artists providing them with a platform to share and expose the public to a wide range of contemporary artwork.