Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oman 40 Years

Oman has been celebrating it's 40th National Day under the brilliant ruling of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.  His story and this country's story is amazing.  I have been fortunate to have come here in 1994.  I traveled around the Middle East before moving back here, my husband's homeland, and settling.

Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom was here either last week or the week before.  There are lots of things going on and the Asian Games 2010 just opened the other day here in Oman.  Lots of excitement in the air.

I made a friend a few years ago whom is an artist.  Her name is Stephanie Borg.  She was here in the Sultanate for four years and then made the decision to move back to her home country of Malta.  She comes for work periodically and she is here by invitation of a company that sponsored the coolest thing.

The Oryx Caravan

There are 40 artists; 20 from Oman, 10 from India and 10 from around the world (Stephanie being one of them).  They were to paint what Oman represents to them onto a life sized Arabian Oryx.  This is a beautiful animal and we always go to see them at the zoo in St. Louis in the summers when we are there!

I went to see the artists working and to visit Stephanie.  It was way cool.

Stephanie putting her final touches on her lovely Oryx.  I know that she used the parts of the traditional Omani dress to dress up her little gal.

The red one behind her has cut out work.  The artist from Oman then put a light inside.  It is solid red and very cool.

I could not pick one favorite of the 40.  However, Stephanie's is very clever and the detail is amazing so she ranks up in the top 3.  This one is up there too for me.  Color.  Bright, happy color with lots of white.  Lots of little doodeling as a filler.  I met the artist, also from Oman and he was so passionate and endearing in his explanation.  He says life is humans walking, walking.  So, he has put people all over this in the shape of two circles.  I should have a closeup somewhere....  you can see two little blue guys on the left hoof.  They are all different sizes and colors and are migrating all over this animal.  His explanation was far more eloquent and I can not capture it all here.

Yousuf al Nahwi

He is a professor at the Sultan Qaboos University teaching Art and Photography.

Here is lovely Raya al Manji, also from Oman.  Her's seemed plain after seeing the bevy of color and detail on so many but when I REALLY looked at it, as I knew I would; I realized it was the Omani flag draped over the animal.  The way she captured the fabric with acrylic paint is talent.  Truly.  While I was outside the door with Yousuf discussing his piece, she painted the Omani Khanjar on the eye which is the emblem of two swords and a dagger for Oman.  Very clever and it elevated the piece in my eyes immensely!

For me, a Colombian-American married to an Omani and raising my two kids here; I was VERY excited to see Omani artists in action.  I made a vow to myself to become more involved in supporting the local talent.  How to do that is in question right now; but it'll come to me!

The launch was last night but this is already such a long post.  I'll come back after I have cleaned the bathroom and picked up my daughter from school as she gets out early now that she is in high school and is sitting some exams.  

Until then!


Anonymous said...

Thos are pretty! I love how each look so dramatically different.

When I lived in Nashville, TN (the home of country music), they had painted guitar sculptures placed all over the city. it was cool to see how each scultpure was painted.

Congrats to Oman for their 40th National Day!

Alia said...

Thanks Lois,

Check back tomorrow. I have most of the 40 Oryx's and will post the pics. Tonight the family is coming over to watch the fireworks, in commemoration of the 40th National Day and the view is to die for on my rooftop. Yes, it is flat!

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

Alia, where can we see them?

Sandra W said...

Wow sis, that is so interesting and the artists are nothing short of amazing! Can't wait to see the next post.

Alia said...

Isra: They were exhibited in the Ministries Area across from OIB, you know that really big ornate gold door building? They were there last night but not sure about today. Hurry, hurry! The Project Leader told me that they would take the best 10 and set them up for auction in two months so keep a keen eye out for that!

Sis! So glad to see you on here. I'll go and post the 2nd part of this. Hi to all.