These 17 artists from the GCC countries had one thing in common when they decided to take part in a painting workshop arranged by the Salalah chapter of the Oman Society of Fine Arts (OSFA). Though their styles were uniquely different, each one of them agreed that Oman has a strong natural beauty and therefore, allow them plenty of opportunities to create work of arts inspired by its innate charm.The workshop focused on tradition, and by being in Oman, the artists tried to portray Oman’s natural surroundings, its people and their love for Omani tradition and culture while maintaining a beautiful balance with the modern way of living.
“We were honoured to be here in Salalah amid nice weather and state-of-the-art multi-purpose recreation centre – Sultan Qaboos Youth Complex for Culture and Entertainment ‑ where we worked for five days. It was a wonderful experience by being with artists from all the GCC countries,” said Zainab Laith, a participant from Bahrain.
One male and one female artist participated from each of the five GCC countries and as host country, seven artists represented Oman. From Bahrain were Zainab Laith and Hussain Issa; Mufrrah Asiri and Salma al Shaikh from Saudi Arabia; Hasan al Mulla and Hessa Kall from Qatar; Asad Bunashi and Maryam al Mulla from Kuwait; and from UAE ‑ Abdulrahman Salem and Khulood al Jabri. Omani artists were Ahmed Jaboob, Maryam, Armani al Yafai, Zainab al Ajmi, Said al Royedi, Ibtisam al Dhahoori and Faisal Rajab.
Ahmed al Mashikhi, Assistant Manager OSFA Salalah, called the gathering interesting and great learning opportunity for Omani artists. “Every participating artist worked on two paintings. Since they were painting on the spot, there was a learning opportunity for all the participants,” she said.
Maryam al Mulla from Kuwait started painting as a child. She works both on classic realism and surrealism. She recalled her first painting which had a depiction of a man thinking about his future. In the span of her career, she has come up with a comprehensive and diverse array of paintings covering different themes and areas of interest.
A passionate painter, Maryam found this exchange and mixing of artists a good idea. “You learn a lot when you meet diverse people from your profession or otherwise. I found this gathering quite interesting,” she said.
Khulood al Jabri is a painter from UAE known within the art community for her style and her love for different aspects of local heritage and social life. The presence of women is the most important theme of her work.
“This is my sixth visit to Oman but taking part in this workshop is a different experience because I was provided with an opportunity to work with artists from GCC countries. I am glad to see the level of young artists of Oman and the kind of support they are getting from organisations like OSFA and others. Salalah itself is rich in many aspects that give an artist imagination for art,” she said.
Artist from Oman, Maryam wants to do something different with new style and new material. She is particular about projecting Oman’s old culture in her works. Proud of Omani heritage and culture, Maryam wants her paintings to be seen by the future generations to let them understand the old cultural values of Oman.