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Message in a bag

28 Mar 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Printed images on eco-friendly bags bolster effort to spread environmental awareness

To spread awareness on the importance of using environmentally friendly bags for shopping besides giving them an element to readily identify with Oman’s traditions and culture, artist Abdulaziz al Shehhi has embarked on making bags with creative images printed on them.

A resident of Khasab, Shehhi painted a series of images featuring Omani men and women and objects quintessential of the country’s heritage which are printed on the eco-friendly bags.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, the 33-year-old said, “I have been doing graffiti art since childhood. The idea for bags came to me after the Environment Authority issued the decision to ban single-use plastic bags from January 2021. I thought of painting images of our heritage, like our traditional dance forms, for this purpose.”

Shehhi teamed up with a company called Zaree Khasab to print his art on the multiple use bags. “The idea is to spread awareness on the importance of preserving the environment and encourage people to use eco- friendly bags. I believe that art has a purpose, and my message here is that everyone should cooperate with the authorities to limit damage to the environment.

“Reusable bags, made of cloth, paper or other organic materials, are the ideal alternative. These bags can be used over and over again, while plastic shopping bags are used only once and take more than a thousand years to degrade.”

Shehhi uses various mediums to create art, including pencil, watercolours and digital art, but particularly enjoys graffiti. 

“I created portraits of the Late Sultan Qaboos bin Said at different sites in Khasab for five years. I have also painted His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik on a rock face of the Hajar Mountains range, also in Khasab, with an image of Sultan Qaboos on a mountain facing it,” he informed.

Shehhi’s graffiti of His Majesty Sultan Haitham on a mountain in pop art style in September 2020 created over two months received much attention.

About his latest project in efforts to save the environment, he said, “I urge all members of society to cooperate with the authorities to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. Use eco-friendly bags to protect the environment from pollution and to protect natural life in Oman.”

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