Taking traditions into the digital

What is your name? Tell us a little more about yourself.
My name is Majida Akbar al Balushi, I am a graphic designer. I graduated from Ibri College of applied sciences and am currently working as a graphic designer in JCDecaux Oman.

Majida Akbar Al Balushi

At what age did your interest in art peek and when did you realise it was your true passion?
Growing up, especially when I was in school, I always loved and enjoyed making art. Eventually I learned about digital art and this is when I knew this is what I wanted to do professionally. Other than it being my job, art like it is for many artists is also a source of expression, an outlet for our emotions through our styling and techniques.

What is your main source of inspiration?
My main source of inspiration has and continues to be my culture — the Balochi culture with all its elements. With rich culture and heritage, Balochi work has inspired me in the ways I use patterns, colours and designs. Traditional Balochi designs especially in garments have unique types of hand embroidery with lots of details and this is what mainly attracted me. This is very visible in my work as I use the Balochi patterns in my artworks.

Who is your favourite artist? Are there any particular styles or genre of art that you are drawn to?
Art is subjective, and all art is beautiful in its own way. It’s always interesting to learn about famous artists and the techniques they use in creating their pieces, helping me not only gain inspiration but even improve my techniques. Amongst Omani artists, Anwar Sonya, a local legend is my favourite artist.

When you’re not actively working or creating, what are your other pass times?
In my free time, if I’m not fiddling with designs and new art pieces, I’m looking for new activities and hobbies to try out. But I also spend time searching for online platforms and portals where I can find and connect with other digital artists to learn and better my skill. As an artist I believe that it is important to network, especially as a digital designer as gaining visual inspiration is very important when plotting a concept or creating a work of art.

What are some of your achievements?
In college I was very active and took part in a lot of exhibitions. Once I started working, it became more difficult to make time for personal projects but last year when I heard about the annual exhibition for digital arts which is organised by the Omani Society of Fine Arts in Qurum, I sent my artwork — with a hope to see my artwork in such a prestigious exhibition and to introduce my culture into the art realm through my work. To my absolute surprise I won the first prize! But what really made me happy was that I was successful in sharing my message about the wonders of my culture and its designs.

What are your long-term goals?
Other than plans of being a part of more exhibitions, I also hope that I will be able to introduce and share my culture with people. Balochi culture is not only unique but also an integral part of the Sultanate and its diverse culture and heritage.

What is your message to young upcoming artists, especially digital artists?
In a world that is constantly changing, it is important to remember that the world of graphic design and art is constantly evolving. Newer programs, platforms, technologies are being introduced and so it is important that artist themselves keep updating and evolving their work along with the times. Designers must stay aware of current trends and strive to stand out, keeping their designs fresh and up-to-date.

Text by Titash Chakraborty

Drawings by Majida Al Balushi