The 28th FIAP Colour Biennial held in Barcelona in Spain received thousands of entries this year. Considered as one of the most important events offered by the International Federation of Photographic Art (FIAP), the biennial not only looks at “the quality of the individual work… but FIAP asks for coherent collections, as well of the viewpoint of inspiration and conception as form the viewpoint of execution and presentation.”
Photographers from Oman this year represented by the Photographic Society of Oman (PSO) submitted a collection comprised of Omani faces — men of a certain age the lines and marks on their faces tell the story and the life they lived.
The collection is a great deep dive into what makes the country unique highlighting the different ways traditional dishdashas are worn and how the muzars — the headscarves worn on the head — expand the story of the men that are featured in each photograph.
It was a cohesive collection never before seen in the international level and the power of the visual storytelling by the Omani photographers resulted in Oman contingent winning the silver medal in the printed images category.
The Sultanate participated with (10) works and the group of works was collectively called “Glowing spirits”.
The Sultanate in this Biennale was represented by ten of Oman’s outstanding photographers namely Majid al Amri, Hamad al Ghanbousi, Mohammed al Hajri, Saeed al Shukaili, Ahmed al Qaudhi, Ahmad al Batashi, Hassan al Amri, Hatem al Rashdi, Mohammed al Balushi and Mohammed Khaled al Dhm.
The judgement of the collections, according to FIAP is made in two steps: first, the judgement of each work of the collection and second, the global judgement of the collection.
“The collection obtaining the highest score by the addition of the points of the first and the second judgment wins the World Cup of the corresponding Biennial. Individual prizes are also awarded to the best works regardless of the classification by federations,” organisers shared.
The silver medal award that Oman photographers won is another feather on their cap cementing their status as emerging global rockstars in the world of photography.
Spain topped the list by winning the World Cup in the Biennale for the printed image where it won 169 points. Russia won the gold medal with 168 points and the Sultanate of Oman won the silver medal with 164 points. Italy won the bronze medal with (162) points.
Biennials are organized every two years and held in a different member country. “Even years (are dedicated) for Black and White and Nature Biennials, (and the) odd years for the Colour Biennial.
For this year’s Colour Biennial, it was divided into two categories: the first is the printed images in which the competing country is required to participate with a number of (10) photographs carrying the same theme with each photographer entitled to participate with only one photo in each category; and the second category is the digital images in which the competing country participates with a maximum of 20 images and the photographer can participate with one or two works.
The Sultanate also participated in the digital photo category with a collection of colourful pictures featuring children of different age groups in their cheerful Omani costumes in different national occasions, such as national holidays and celebrations that reflect Omani traditions inspired by the culture of society. In this category, the Sultanate got the 11th place.
The jury this year included photographer Luis Franck from Argentina, photographer Bebo Vazquez from Andorra, and photographer Jean Salelli from France.
The award ceremony will take place in November this year on the sidelines of the 33rd Congress of the Spanish Confederation of Photography.