Using words and scribbles to paint a better picture

An artist usually draws inspiration from things around them. When artists find a cause that they are passionate about, they will pursue this interest, read and learn more about it, explore it until they discover an even wider space so that they can take their art into an even higher form.
Kawthar al Harthi is a passionate artist who wants to create art that is unique to her. While she is still developing her craft, she is currently zooming into collages — particularly those of written words, drawn scribbles and lines, diaries and old notebooks.
Her recent sources are the works of people around her and she has spent hours collecting notebooks and old papers to put her vision into life.
Kawthar has a Bachelor of Art Education from Sultan Qaboos University, and she is an art teacher.
“In my point of view, one cannot exactly say when art as a passion starts to bloom in a person. The love for art grows within the artist as soon as he or she becomes aware of the world around him or her,” Kawthar said.
It was only three years ago when Kawthar started to pursue collages. She thought that it was something new and something that has not been fully explored especially within the Sultanate.
Kawthar believes that memories occupy a huge space in the lives of people and just as written words tell people of what life was like, putting them into a collective tells an even deeper story.
“The remaining pieces of the diaries would make a good picture”, she thought.
“What father left” is one of Kawthar’s closest works to her heart that narrates the details of her late father’s life.
“The two paintings are a compilation of papers that my father left in his library. His school notebooks, diary, address and phone books, letters and other miscellaneous papers. I added to it photographs of my father’s possessions such as a dead trunk tree, antique that he always puts in his library, stairs and childhood home,” Kawthar shared.
“I started working on both paintings at the beginning of 2019. I was so drawn to the notion that an entire life is represented by papers, the person’s thoughts, and messages exchanged between him and his friends and a lot of interesting details that give a pure picture of the real memories,” Kawthar added.
Kawthar inspires her works’ ideas from her daily life. “the artist is in a constant search for new and unique ideas. Ordinary details that people see in their surrounding could mean something special to the artist”, she said.
Heritage appears spontaneously in her works as it is a part of her reality. In “What father left” painting she pasted a picture of the Omani turban (masar) that her father used to wear. She doesn’t believe in the idea that art should be a medium intended to promote heritage.
“Heritage doesn’t need to be promoted for in the artists’ works. On the contrary, adding some cultural touches to the work would promote for the work itself as it would give it a super value, especially among those fans of heritage,” she said.
Her favourite materials and tools for shaping the painting are papers, photographs and dry materials such as charcoal, lead and pastels.
She has participated in many local and international exhibitions. “I participated in the Annual Youth Exhibition in 2018 in the Omani Society for Fine Arts and the Small Business Exhibition in 2019. As I also participated in the exhibition of the Omani International Forum in 2019 in Vienna. It was a wonderful experience because I got the opportunity to meet some great artists,” she said.
Currently, Kawthar has two works on display in the Christmas exhibition at the Matti Sirvio Gallery in Muscat.