Ahead of the exhibition, Raisi and Karooh walk around Bait Muzna, asking questions and getting a feel of the place. They are understandably nervous and excited. The exhibition will be a high profile event, with H H Sayyida Virginia al Said as the Guest of Honour on the opening day.
The exhibition’s purpose is to promote young contemporary artists and as such Raisi and Karooh fit the profile perfectly, with talent that belies their age. At 37, Karooh has already won numerous awards for his work both at home and abroad.
“It’s still a privilege to exhibit at Bait Muzna, to show everyone the memories of my childhood here,” said Karooh whose work has been exhibited in Egypt, UAE and India.
Karooh’s close friend Raisi, also thrilled by the opportunity elaborated on why it is an important event for him. “We don’t paint just to display our work. We paint for our satisfaction and to reflect our ideas,” said the artist who is inspired by Oman’s landscape and colour, and has now moved into the world of the abstract.
“Each painting should tell a story. And in this exhibition, visitors will find an underlying story in a lot of my paintings,” said Raisi, who is also a calligrapher.
For both painters, their families and the happy surroundings provided by them, have been a real inspiration. “For example, in this exhibition, I am displaying ‘Omani Door’ series.
"These doors have been inspired by my ancestral home, where I grew up and by my father who was an artisan himself, and taught me his craft as well,” said Karooh. Raisi’s father, too, was a painter who taught him how to express himself.
Both also believe that it is vital for contemporary art to be showcased. “The current generation of artists have their own vision. We are inspired by our culture and heritage, but at the same time we are open to experimentation,” said Raisi.
“It is important to have your own perspective when it comes to art. What is beautiful is that when people come to view our work, they have their own interpretation of its beauty,” added Karooh.
Other artwork in the exhibition includes Karooh’s paintings on Oman’s coastline and Raisi’s versatile abstracts. “I started off with picture-perfect realist paintings. But have since focused on the development of new techniques and colours. Many of my paintings reflect the mood of the content, so there is the use of certain darker shades,” said Raisi.
For these artists, the journey to Bait Muzna has been hectic but fulfilling. “Both of us have about twenty works on display. Like I said before, we did not have the exhibition in mind when we started off.
“But I believe it is the best work all of us have made, and I hope visitors will find it to be so as well,” said Raisi.
Visitors will also get a chance to admire the work of Tahira Fida. An artist whose work is rich in symbology, she incorporates letters and characters from different languages including some ancient scripts like Aramaic and Hieroglyphic.
Arabic and English prose inspire Tahira’s work. Her aim is to create a connect with the audience through her mixed media and relief work.