For Malika Hussain Bhagat, art has been not just a way of life but also the essence of life itself.
A senior Indian resident who has lived in the sultanate for over 35 years, Malika believes that one’s involvement in art helps in refining the mind and body, such that she says “Art is like a spa, it soothes as well as rejuvenates the mind.”
Having started out in a small way by conducting informal art workshops for young students, Malika says she put all her artistic knowledge and skills to use by helping young minds to develop and evolve their own personalities through art. She believes in letting each one discover their own traits and leanings instinctively and uses arts a tool to find that out.
Malika initially started holding informal art classes for children with special needs as a way to express themselves and, in the bargain, helped a lot of parents in understanding their children better. Mere sketching and painting involves a lot of coordination between the senses and the reflexes and it helps children with special needs to understand many basic concepts which might be natural for other children.
“Art does not necessarily involve use of costly colours and accessories, you can do a lot with just three colours. And I encourage people to use art to express their innermost selves without setting any limitations or restrictions,” says Malika who continues to assist young children who need to explore their own potential with art alongside their academic pursuits.
When you enter Malika’s home in Al Khuwayr you see art present in many diverse forms around the house. She has paintings, wall hangings, murals, table décor, and many interesting articles made by recycling disposables. You see fancy flower pots in her balcony that are actually painted containers of curds. Old furniture too have been given an artistic touch with painted designs while mirrors, calendars, photo frames, and many other utility articles, from key chain holders to showcase racks, have her artistic stamp on them.
“If you look at things artistically, you can convert a lot of things which you normally throw away into artistic items,” says Malika who spends all her spare time (she is a grand mother) painting as well as creating interesting murals with clay and paint, many of which reflect the culture and heritage of Oman.
For the 50th National Day of Oman, Malika had created numerous items which could be given to people as gifts d mementos. She hopes to continue her journey in art, in her own small way, by spreading the joy of art to those interested in adding colour to their lives.