Monday, October 25
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STROKES OF GRATITUDE

12 Dec 2020 By HUBERT VAZ

Sara Riaz Khan, an abstract artist, author and educator, who has lived, painted and taught in Muscat for many years, presents her solo exhibition, titles ‘Gratitude for Oman’, a the Art & Soul Gallery at the Water Front mall, at Qurm. The exhibition, will be inaugurated this evening (December 13) and open for public viewing from tomorrow.

The Art & Soul Gallery, located in the Water Front mall, was inaugurated last month to provide a unique space for artists who come from multidisciplinary art forms. It offers the perfect ambience and elegant art spaces that overlook the Arabian Sea. The gallery’s space, with its fine tunes acoustics, well-lit exhibition platforms, and state of the art equipment, is seen to be a space that artists and art enthusiasts could look forward to holding and attending regular art related events.

Sara perceives this exhibition as a form of gratitude to Oman, the place and its people. She says her experience of living in a calm and peaceful space, close to nature has been an important factor in her artistic growth. The exhibition includes works in oil on canvas and paper as well as multi-media collages, all of which celebrate the emotive beauty of the natural world.

The works on display include some stunning canvases titled  ‘Mountain Roses’, ‘Constellations’, ‘Omani Sunset’, ‘Winter Mountain’ and ‘Sand & Mist’. While  conveying the natural splendour of Oman through the artist’s eye, these paintings also seem to have an element of mysticism which provokes not just deep thought about a land that’s blessed with bountiful nature but also the fact that it has been preserved so for generations despite its accelerated pace of modernisation.

Sara, who had attended the Heatherley School of Art, London, graduated in Islamic Art and Architecture from SOAS (University of London), and did her Multidisciplinary Studies from Buffalo State University of New York, believes in the importance of artists being ‘educators’ if they can. She herself is a consultant at Harbord & Khan Educational Consultants.

Talking about her style of painting, Sara told Muscat Daily that she usually works on multiple canvases at a time and that paintings can take her upto three or four months to complete. “As my work is mostly about emotions and ideas, I have no fixed final image in mind when I start, and the work develops according to its own process. This again can takes time and introspection,” she asserted.

About this exhibition, she said, “This process has been important in making my feelings tangible and visible. I always knew that being in this peaceful space was important for my personal growth, and it’s been nourishing to see it on canvas. In this very difficult year, it has also been important to be able to celebrate something.”

Explaining that abstract often goes beyond people’s understanding, Sara noted that people are sometimes not interested in or not concerned about understanding abstract art. “In my experience, looking at abstract work offers people the chance to bring their own experiences, perceptions and stories to what they see. It is a unique opportunity to explore what being human is, how we think and what we feel. Exploring nature and our shared humanity is my main inspiration but so are colour and emotion. And we all experience the world in these ways,” she asserts.

To the uninitiated as far as art is concern, Sara believes that every artwork speaks a story that the artist wishes to convey and that it is inspired as well as governed by varied influences of the time and age that it has been created. However, interpretations tend to vary and may not necessarily match the one that the artist has in mind.

“I am very idea driven, I paint with an intention in mind, but after a point, the painting goes its own way. And I let it go. In the same way, all creative experiences are enriching and, I hope, that people can engage with my work in their own, unique way. Just starting the conversation or raising a question is enough to start with,” she avers. 

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