Held in over 1000 cities across the globe every year, Pecha Kucha Nights (Japanese for chit-chat), is a gathering where creatives like designers and artists are given a platform to share and discuss their works.
It kicked off in Tokyo in 2003 and had quite a run in Oman but the three-year drought the country experienced was finally quenched recently as Muscat relaunched and reignited the movement starting off with five of Oman’s most prolific artists and personalities.
Dozens of youngsters flooded the Second Cup Cafe in Qurum to witness food photographer Afifa al Hashim, artist Mawada al Sawafi, traveller Hamdooun al Hashmi, graphic designer Alaa al Dhiyabi, and marketer and interior designer Bashair al Balushi shared their expertise, knowledge, and inspiration in 20 slides with 20 seconds each for each slide — one of the most well-known feature and structure of Pecha Kucha.
Event head organiser Sara Fida shared that relaunching the event was their way of encouraging the youth to get involved with creative movements around them and motivate youngsters to share their hidden talents.
She also explained that they wanted to provide artists, designers and personalities a platform to mingle with their fellow designers and share inspirational stories.
Sponsored by Omantel, the Oman relaunch has proven to be a great success with the five “speakers” clearly communicating what they’ve come to tell.
Food photographer Al Hashim, who was recently chosen by Kuisines E-magazine, GCC’s first travel and food e-magazine, shared that “If you like something you have to invest it and make the best out of it.”
She shared that she started as an amateur food photographer but she has the vision of changing the concept of food photography. Saving up money, she landed in London and attended a photography course improving her skills greatly and now, making her one of the most talented burger photographers in the country.
For Mawada Al Sawafi, a designer who took her sketches and made them transferable and printable on phone cases and other household and vanity items shared that she joined to give another dimension to her art.
“I wanted to transfer art from my sketchbook to something else — thereby making them beneficial,” she explained.
Al Hashmi, on the other hand, is a traveller who recently got recognised for his daring biking adventure to Yemen.
Despite the ongoing conflict and the warnings he received from his friends and relatives, Al Hashmi did not hesitate to take the challenge and cycle to the war-torn country.
“Very few people dare to visit Yemen especially with the ongoing conflict, but I have always admired Yemen’s great past,” he shared.
The traveller came back with remarkable stories witnessing not only a beautiful country but also friendly people who live in a historical country where architecture and traditions talk to people.
His message was, “I want to encourage and motivate people to get out of their comfort zones, take risks and visit the fascinating land of Yemen.”
Graphic designer Alaa shared, “I have a strong belief that what you like as a child will shape your personality and what you like in the future. Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing and scribbling. I found art and its vivid world to be my solace. This led to me choosing Graphic Design as my major.”
Alaa participated in the event to inspire people.
“People used to make fun of my art when I was a child and that left me disappointed. But one must ignore negative comments and do what he or she feels like.” Her creative art made its way in the Pecha Kucha poster which won her applause from the audience.
For marketer and interior designer AlBalushi, she was there to communicate to the audience that they should not be afraid to begin something new or things never done before.
Her ability of transforming traditional Omani handicrafts and dresses into chairs and furniture and applying Omani designs on tote bags have started to get people talking. Al Balushi wanted to inspire people and motivate them to make the best of what’s around them and not wait for others to do what they have in mind. “I believe that everyone has an artistic taste, but very few ventures into transforming this taste into real art. Thus, I am here to tell people that do the best of your own art.” With the strong start, Pecha Kucha Nights might just be here for a longer time to fulfill its great purpose.
Mohammed al Dhiyabi & Titash Chakraborty