Sketching Memories — for tomorrow’s generation

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
Murtada al Lawati is an artist who would rather tell you more about other artists. Follow him on the social media and you will see him sharing and promoting others’ works.
Press him to show his work he would modestly introduce you to his work. No matter where his office is there will always be a second desk and this is for his art work. A banker by profession, he contributed to the hospitality industry bringing in his expertise of Omani heritage and culture. Today, he is the director of Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art.
The Museum has an art gallery as well and this is where we seated as we caught up with Murtada’s journey with art.
Murtada was born and grew up in Muttrah. Muttrah has always been known to be an inspiration for artists – no matter which form of art you practice. Murtada’s sketches depict scenes from Muttrtah, Muscat and other parts of the country as well.
“I think art has been always with me since I was born. I cannot remember when it all began. I used to paint with water colours and oils on different materials,” said Murtada.
A member of the Omani Fine Arts Society, Murtada has gone through the journey of art world with his sketches and paintings, but now has a passion for calligraphy.
“I have tasted calligraphy and now I just love it! I am studying it and hope to be good at it in the near future.”
He finds a lot of meaning to the calligraphy than it being just a script. “Calligraphy is a deep art. It is one of the Islamic and Arabic art. It follows rules. People might see calligraphy written and say, ‘it is beautiful.’ But it is not only writing. It is just like you are building a house. Each letter has a scale, has a certain weight, different curves. When you learn all the letters, digits and the curves then the letter appears to you in a creative form. The letter is alive. You feel as if each letter speaks to you,” explained Murtada.
“Some calligraphy are not done very well and when you look at them, it might bother your eyes. But if it is written with care and based on rules and it always look full of life and gives you the impression of having a personal connection to you,” added the artist.
“If you do not follow the rules of the calligraphy and still produce it on your canvas, then it cannot be called calligraphy but we can call it modern art,” pointed out Murtada. Murtada insists he would not want to be called a calligrapher yet.“I would want another calligrapher to acknowledge that fact officially for me. For now, I am still practicing this art form. But writings do appear in my sketches now and then.”
The artist is known to hand out sketches and calligraphy work instantly.
The recipients value them with great regard because Murtada makes sure to leave a personal touch relevant to the receiver.