Sculpting using marble as a medium is still a growing art in Oman. While there had been several male artists who dabbled with this medium, it’s hard to find women sculptors who specialise in the field.
Khulood al Shuaibi is one of the budding artists who has started to make a name for herself in this arena. While she considers herself as still on the learning process towards mastery of the craft, her style and persistence have already earned the accolades of fellow artists.
Subscribing to the school of Expressionism, she has created some remarkable art that speaks a lot about her potential and talent.
“At the beginning, an artist usually tries different styles and medium as s/he pursues his or her craft. As the skill grows, so is the preference for what medium to use and what kind of art he or she would like to pursue. Finding that comfort and stability is part of the natural progression of growing as an artist. It was marble that dazzled me as a medium,” she shared.
She added that Oman thankfully is rich with this material.
“I felt there are bigger space and opportunity for me to master this type of art”, she said.
As a female artist, her voice is unique including her approach of working with the material. She wanted her work to be a symbol of women power and her pieces are inspired by what a woman can do as a being.
“My sculpture is an avenue to expresses what is in my soul. My vision is not only guided by my experience as a woman but also by my surrounding,” she shared.
Khulood officially fell in love with sculpture art in 2011 when she participated in a marble sculpting course presented by the late Ayoub Maling al Balushi — consider as one of Oman’s pioneer artists. For her, Maling is a shining icon for Omani artists and an important reference in the sculpture field.
“Taking the course made me discover my passion for working with marble,” she said.
It normally takes Khulood a month or two to finish a piece. The process can be laborious with a lot of pre-planning involved.
“To form my sculpture, first I make sketches on paper. Then I do a miniature sculpture to see the initial shape and if it needs adjustments. The last step is starting with carving on a large marble.
The average time I need for one sculpture is a month or two, depending on the idea or concept,” Khulood shared.
“I’ve done several pieces since I’ve begun in 2011. One of the most memorable that meant so much to me was a sculpture of a bird flying freely. It was a messenger bird and it was sending this message of freedom and equal rights for everyone,” she said.
She has participated in many local and international events.
“One of the most memorable events I attended was an international exhibit that happened in China. For the Sculptors Forum in 2017, I produced a sculptural work made of fibreglass — my first time to use the material. During the event, I got to know many different Chinese sculptors and learnt a lot from their different style of sculpting,” she said.
Currently, Khulood is pursuing her academic studies and is actively experimenting with her art by mixing epoxy with marble.
“A successful sculptor is one who has abundant knowledge of the history of his own country. It is also easy to succeed if you know exactly what kind of art you would like to specialise on. Talent is not enough to create unique work of arts. More than the skills, knowledge is also a strong element to excel”, she said.