With 27,000 nails, this artist simulates late HM Sultan Qaboos features


In this day and age, modern art has been getting inspiration not only from nature but every day things that surround us. Many modern and contemporary artists are no longer confined to using brushes and paints but are using whatever their imagination allows them to explore.

Ali Al-Maamari is an Omani artist who has always strived to find his own niche. As a young emerging creator, he tries out different and unique ideas.

“Nails may seem useless to a normal person, but in the hands of an artist, it can become something else,” he said.

One of Al Maamari’s latest work of art is a piece that used around 27,000 nails which gave shape to the features of the founder of the renaissance of Oman, the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

Calling the piece “You will remain immortal in us,” Al Maamari shared, “I am attracted a lot to follow the social media accounts that showcase creative ideas, as they feed my inspiration greatly. I have tried to combine more than one idea and that became visible in this piece of work.”

While the nail forms the base of his creation, Al Maamari combined coloured die and nail installers to come up with his project,

“I didn’t anticipate the project to be this big. When I started it, I didn’t foresee that I will be utilizing as many as 27,000 nails. Sometime during the process, I realised that its original bigger size would cause more. I have to reduce the size to cut on cost and the number of nails included,” he explained.

While the finished project looks easy on the eye, a deeper look would actually reveal the details that Al Maamari put into the project. His friends earlier on insisted he kept the original size he planned and while their advice was valuable, he has to be realistic.

“From planning to installing to digging the nails and all the process that involved to complete the piece, it took me nearly four months,” he said.

“With an ambitious project like this, an artist will definitely face a lot of challenges along the way. Time is one of those challenges. In this particular piece, it was difficult to clearly define all the face features of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos with nails only. My friend Naji al-Shizawi, therefore, helped me complete the work,” he said.

“Despite the time crunch and the level of difficulty, I felt like I have to complete the piece. Looking at it now, it clearly sends the message that I would like people to see: that the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has a great place in my heart — rather, everybody’s hearts,” he said.

Al Maamari has thought of every detail of the piece. He used a white background to symbolize purity and peace.

“The figure is wearing the Saidi turban, which is considered part of the protocol for the official appearance of His Majesty,” he said.

The colouring step was also a difficult phase of the process.

“I used more than 15 different colours and combined them to bring out what I envisioned in my head. It took about a month to colour the painting. It was a difficult stage as there is no way for mistakes,” he shared.

“When I began colouring the face and the features started to emerge, it was a nice feeling to see what I planned happening before my eyes,” he said.

Omanis celebrate the National Day of the Renaissance on November 18th every year in various ways, most notably the parades, accompanied by traditional songs in a cheerful atmosphere. For the exceptional circumstances this year due to Covid 19, the occasion was celebrated in the most careful way to preserve the health of all.

Omanis, nevertheless, have found other ways to celebrate this day in accordance with the circumstances of the pandemic and the precautionary measures. For Ali, it was through his art that he clearly delivers his message of unity.


Oman Observer

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