H H Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham bin Tarik al Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, inaugurated ‘Coastline – Community and Conservation’, an exhibition of paintings by Muscat-based British-Portuguese artist Joana Mollet in Bait al Baranda on Monday. The exhibition will be open for public viewing in small groups by prior appointment until November 5 after which it can be viewed as a virtual exhibition.
H H Sayyid Theyazin tookkeen interest in the exhibits as well as the idea behind each of these which conveyed the urgency to conserve Oman’s coastline and instill a sense of care for the environment. He was particularly taken up by the efforts of Zahraa Primary School and British School Muscat students in creating two installations on wadi mats on the theme of conservation, which were put on display alongside Joana’s works.
The exhibition, presented in cooperation with H H Sayyid Taimur bin Shabib al Said, managing director of Hud Hud Travels, is Bait al Baranda’s first virtual exhibition for the public. It brings together several of Joana’s paintings not just to celebrate the beauty of Oman’s coastline but also to draw attention to the problem of littering on beaches.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration, Joana told Muscat Daily, “H H Sayyid Theyazin was extremely interested in the exhibition, not just about how I made the paintings but also the reasoning behind them. It also gave me pleasure to note that he connected well with some of the paintings. That was exactly the intention behind the exhibition – to make people connect with nature, as only then would your protect it.
“He was particularly impressed by the installations made by the school students and galvanising young people around this message. After the exhibition concludes, I hope that we can encourage more movement in this direction and make people think twice when they go out in nature. I also hope we can use the existing tools between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and perhaps the Environment Society of Oman’s (ESO) Green School initiative to create some synergy in getting the message across through schools.”
H H Sayyid Tarik bin Shabib al Said, chief patron of ESO, who also attended the opening, said, “I think, the way this exhibition has been approached by involving young people in creating and getting the message of conservation across is absolutely right. They are seeing first hand and learning how to communicate through art, that there is a serious challenge that needs to be met. And as the artist explained, the route is through the children to their elders and their family. Children have more passion and energy to initiate change. They are not afraid of change as the world is a blank canvas to them. So, this is a fantastic way to approach it and it really relies now on various channels, like social media, etc to promote the cause.”
Asked about the need to focus on conserving the environment also at tourist sites that take an image of Oman across the world, H H Sayyid Tarik said, “It’s a critical issue and the solution has to be holistic. You can’t just tell people, fine them or only use a stick, with no carrot. We have to find a way for people to benefit from the clean-up of our coastline as a lot of material picked up have a recycle value.”
“If we can show that value to individuals who are (located) on the coastline, then they can actually derive some benefit from it,” H H Sayyid Tarik said.
He also backed the need for reducing the indiscriminate use of plastic shopping bags at supermarkets.
“We need to get this message across to bring about a change in lifestyle, change of habits, and stop thinking that there’s no repercussion to just buying, consuming and throwing away vast amounts of packaging material,” he stressed.
Malik al Hinai, director of Bait al Baranda, added, “We were honoured to welcome H H Sayyid Theyazin to Bait al Baranda to inaugurate the virtual exhibition. This is an initiative on the cleaning of our beaches and the awareness that we want to take to the public. It was befitting to have H H Sayyid Theyazin officiate such an event. We thank all their highnesses and excellencies who attended and I hope people will log on to the website and enjoy this virtual exhibition. This is a first of its kind and I encourage other associations and institutions to adopt such an approach of displaying an exhibition during these tough times of COVID-19.”