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‘Centre of the Universe’ opens at Stal Gallery today

13 Aug 2022 emerging artist By HUBERT VAZ

A mid-term exhibition of shortlisted finalists of the annual Young Emerging Artist Prize 2022 opens at Stal Gallery tomorrow wherein eight promising artists will showcase their own interpretations of ‘a reflection on self-portraits’

Creativity is currently a multi-dimensional concept in the world of art and budding artists the world over have been breaking out of the conventional two-dimensional canvas to present art that is not just visual, rather something that speaks and appeals to all the senses of the viewer.

And if you view the unique presentations put forth by emerging young Omani artists at the annual exhibition of emerging artists, year after year, you would discover that contemporary art has, indeed, adorned a new avatar – one that also needs a multi-pronged outlook to comprehend.

Today, the canvas is multi-dimensional and the viewer isn’t far removed from what is presented, often part of the presentation. So, when you walk into Stal Gallery today, you would discover that young Omani artists have taken that road with ease, and attempted to provoke an instant response from viewers with regard to unique artistic presentations that are not always installed on walls.

Stal Gallery’s Young Emerging Artist’s Prize (YEAP), initiated and mentored by internationally known Omani artist Hassan Meer, has become a unique platform for budding artists in Oman since 2015. The programme of nurturing young artists and helping them find their feet has been the first of its kind in Oman supporting the new generation of emerging artists.

With emphasis on professional skills development, online profiling, usage of multimedia technology, and displaying a wider presentation of the visual arts, this contest has grown to become the most anticipated art programme of Oman at a non-profit art gallery – Stal Gallery – the Alserkal Group’s first cultural project in the Sultanate of Oman.

The programme is focused on the educational aspect and will culminate in an open-ended public demonstration which would include three key aspects – artist talk, a workshop and the final exhibition that would showcase the journey as well as prowess of the short-listed artists, one of whom would bag the coveted trophy and a much sought after scholarship to study art abroad.

The mid-term exhibition will be inaugurated under the auspices of H H Sayyida Basma al Said this evening and would feature the artworks of the finalists – Salim al Masoudi, Bashair al Balushi, Kawthar al Harthi, Israa al Balushi, Huria al Harrasi, Marwa al Bahrani, Khadija al Maamari, Ammar al Kiyumi – along with the work of Majeda al Hinai – Grand Prize winner of Young Emerging Artist Prize 2020.

Salim al Masoudi’s art installation

Curated by Hassan Meer, art director, Stal Gallery and Ruqaiya Mazar, assistant curator, the programme has been conducted under the supervision and direction of Dr Volodymyra Sobolevska, manager, Stal Gallery.

“You are the centre of the universe. The world revolves around you. Because life is not linear and we don’t all reside in. We are all on the same flat surface of existence, in which everything that happens is uniform. The Earth is a sphere, our lives are dynamic, and we all experience the world differently,” says Meer, adding that the exhibition delivers artworks in ways that haven’t been delivered before, with regard to concept, materials or presentation.

Meer further said, “This group was selected in the beginning of this year nad went through practices to examine their own creativity. The mid-term show is the first show of the programme using photography and installation art. The theme is about the post-COVID-19 experience showing how each individual felt after the relief of the lockdown. ‘Center of the Universe’ as well as a reflection of the individual is the key concept as each person is the center of his/her imagination.”

About the current batch of finalist nurtured by him, Meer said, “This year’s programme is more advanced and it shows how the awareness of contemporary art has spread among the new generation. In previous years, students tried to explore what experimental art is, but now it is quite clear to them, he said, asserting that this annual show has helped in changing the young art scene in Oman.

“The difference and improvement in Omani art can now be seen quite clearly. We train and improve the work of young artists and they themselves can feel the difference,” he added.

The exhibition will be on display at Stal Gallery throughout the month of August.

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