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Art in the mart – Muttrah fish market offers space for ‘Kullon Mena’

15 Feb 2023 kullon mena By HUBERT VAZ

The chairman of Muscat Municipality inaugurated a unique art exhibition – Kullon Mena (each of us) – on the mezzanine floor of Muttrah fish market on February 14. The exhibition, curated by Rasmia al Zadjali, will be on till March 2

The sight and stench of fish being sold and bought on the ground floor of the Muttrah fish market may not appeal to some, though scores of foreign tourists can be seen flitting in and out all day. But, just one level above the buzz of vendors busy with their daily grind, a unique proposition has just taken shape…an art exhibition that aims to simulate the tragedy of wars and its devastating effects.

‘Kullon Mena’, organised by Rasma Art Consultancy, was inaugurated by H E Ahmed bin Mohammed al Humaidi, chairman of Muscat Municipality, at this unique location for the very first time. The location was chosen to show the distinctive geographical location of the wilayat of Muttrah and to highlight the cultural and artistic activities that contribute to supporting tourism in Muscat Governorate.

Rasmia Noor Mohammed al Zadjali, curator of the exhibition which features the works of three artists – Safaa Erruas, Elmira Abolhasani and Riham Noor al Zadjali – said, “The choice of Muttrah was made due to its strategic location, the fragrance of its ancient past and the reflection of its historical and artistic culture, in addition to the presence of its distinctive traditional markets that attract visitors from all over the world, which enhances the objectives of the exhibition in the heart of Muscat.

Asked why the fish market, above all, since it does not have an art gallery as such, Rasmia asserted, “The location does not have a dedicated space, we had to convert what was basically an abandoned construction site for the purpose of the exhibition. We were looking to create a striking contrast between the human condition we aimed to depict in the exhibition and the peaceful, serene surroundings. And the Muttrah Fish Market provided the ideal setting for this dichotomy that is part of the message behind Kullon Mena.”

Tourists were seen frequenting the market on the first day of the exhibition in large numbers, and most were interested in capturing the essence of the local fish vendors in their cameras rather that buying anything. However, since there wasn’t any indication or board on the ground floor indicating something interesting for tourists on the mezzanine floor, many tourists missed this unique offering.

Rasmia, who has been exposed to diverse cultural influences – having lived in Muscat, Lugano (Switzerland) and London (UK) – has developed a strong ability to transfrm a common space into an exceptional experience through art. And the current exhibition lodged in an unkempt premise facing the Arabian Sea, demonstrates just that.

About the exhibition ‘Kullon Mena’, she states, that the original impetus behind Kullon Mena was sparked by the hostility of the way of the world and the collective protracted cruelty inflicted on certain groups of people.

Having witnessed first hand the seasons of affliction, a core group of artists came together seeking to represent the scares and scars of war and displacement. All three artists live with and sense the devastating toll of human suffering through their art

The three artists

Safaa Erruas (Morocco)

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Safaa Eruas – Impossible to fix

Safaa is a multidisciplinary abstract artist whose body of work focuses on the complexity of and the permanent tension between sensation, perception and experience. Her artworks are dictated by the colour white with a contrast between soft materials and sharp objects.

Elmira Abolhasani (Iran)

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Elmira Abolhasani – The Silence Hands III

Elmira is a visual artist whose artistic journey is an attempt at understanding the underlying structures of human networks and identities as well as each person’s role and position as an individual node in this complex web. She chooses glass as her primary tool, to understand herself.

Riham al Zadjali (Oman)

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Riham al Zadjali – Fallen Heroes

Riham is an experimental artist who does painting, photography, and digital art. She explores the use of space, methods and aptitudes that allow artists to freely communicate ideas, stories and messages. She has been featured in Kathleen Nejad’s book ‘100 Successful Omani Women’.

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