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Fine Art in Oman

Britain’s Prince Charles visits an Islamic calligraphy exhibition accompanied by Omani Taha al-Kishri (R), head of the Omani Society for Fine Arts (Photo by MOHAMMED MAHJOUB / AFP)

Contemporary fine art in Oman is a relatively new movement. Most professional artists studied abroad. In 1993, the government established the Omani Society for Fine Arts to support and encourage artists in all fields of fine art, including photography. Through workshops, exhibitions, awards and international contacts its members are challenged to develop their own skills and contribute to the progress of art.

A well-known artist is Anwar Sonya, one of the founders of Oman’s modern art movement, who has been awarded many prizes, both nationally and internationally. He is a member of the Circle, a contemporary and experimental art group. His work ranges from detailed landscapes and elements of Omani culture in a semi-abstract style to abstract expressionism. His multimedia pieces explore questions of life and death.

Abdullah al-Hunaini studied in the United Kingdom and is greatly inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites. Fatiya al-Badawi is a member of the Youth Studio. Her work has impressionistic traits, is colourful and relates to culture and nature. Hassan al-Meer’s abstract paintings show naive symbols in primary colours that reflect childhood memories, and are reminiscent of Paul Klee’s work. He also explores video and installation art. Muhammad al-Sayegh’s calligraphic work is made up of colourful images, and is rhythmic and contemplative.

Other successful artists are Maryam al-Zadjali, Muhammad Fadil al-Hasni, Saleh al-Shukairi, Nadira Mahmoud and Moosa Omar. Interesting photographers include Ibrahim al-Busaidi and Said Amur al-Harthy. Salem is one of the few sculptors. His marble work is based on ancient writing, culture, heritage and nature. Sarah White is a distinguished artist from the UK, who has been living and working in Oman for a long time. Her work is based on Omani architecture. She is an active associate member.

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