The journey of Hussein al Shaikh, a 27-year-old sculptor, is full of passion.
His patience to learn techniques, methods and means added to his wide personality.
There is a strong relationship between Hussein and wood.
He says, “I recognised the quality of wood by its smell, and because of this relationship, I moved to art of sculpture and its formation.”
Sculpture for Hussein is a world, starting with crystallising idea in the artist’s mind, and translating into something concrete.
Aesthetic beauty lies in conveying what is in the mind to reality, which may be a big challenge.
“When the artist is confined to a particular idea, he may be restricted by way of translation. Only a person who has a high sense of passion for things may possess high skill to translate his sculpture,” he says.
One of his favourite works is the sculpture ‘Feet’ with two indications. This tells the story of the ancestors, while on the other side represents today’s youth which he calls the coming together of ‘grandfather, father and son together.’
His other work is the ship, which embodies Omani identity with all the symbols associated with it. This makes the viewer feel the most important characteristic of national identity.
Al Khandaq Fort, which represents the identity of Al Buraimi Governorate from its civilisation, is another of his work. The table embodies the transformation of Omani wood into artwork transforming the beauty of the landscape.
He draws inspiration from the situations that influenced him generating ideas translating into his sculpture.
Works of other artists are also a source of inspiration for him.
He began practicing sculpture for two years when he applied for a job called ‘Buildings Joinery’ in the Wood Technology Engineering Department at the Vocational College in Saham.
“At the beginning of my career, it was through manual learning I acquired skills and experience related to mechanisms of dealing with wood,” he says.
“From books and online tutorials, I explored more about this art and obtained the necessary skills,” he adds.
“The reason I got attached to this art as well is the spirit of wood. Wood is a living organism which inspired me to learn. In fact, it is not much an adventure as a new passion that made me work,” he says.
To develop his skills further, he travelled to countries in search of professionals and to benefit from their experience using the latest techniques.
“This was a powerful incentive to return and work professionally,” he says. He also participated in various workshops on sculpture and materials other than wood, namely marble and iron.
He participated in many competitions and exhibitions both inside and outside the Sultanate. The most prominent was the Makers Fair where he was placed second in the Arts and Crafts category.
Though a vast majority believe that the prices of the products are exaggerated and are no aware of the efforts which went to make it.
Unavailability of all the tools required to facilitate his work is another challenge he faces. Hussein says these handicaps can be overcome by urging government institutions to empower youth, host international forums and exhibitions and hold competitions.
He also advises motivational prizes, holding youth participation in international partnerships and provide material support to the participants.
Ruqaya Al Kindi