Category Archives: Museums

Traditional Female Clothing around the Sultanate (Bait al Zubair Museum)

omani female dresses  A beautiful visual on traditional female dresses found in different regions of Oman.  This is located near the backdoor of Bait Al Zubair Museum which is probably the best museum in Oman.

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“Wall Painting 2012” at Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art

wall painting 2012 frontThere was simply too much to see in Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art (along the Corniche in Muttrah) to cover all of it in my last post, so I’ve decided to post about their exhibition, “Wall Painting 2012”, in this separate post.staff of museum in front

Here we have one of the designers, Roshani Rajapaksha, and one of the museum co-ordinators, Luella Almeida, posing in front of “Wall Painting 2012” murals.  Roshani also works at the front desk of the museum greeting visitors.names of artists

Here are the names of all 100 artists who participated in this exhibition. (This is on the backside of the beautiful postcard-like pic which is the 1st photo of this blogpost.)  “This is a unique project where the front wall of the museum was painted by 100 different artists, 10 artists per day for 10 days resulting in a grand mural.  For each artist, their work will be a representation of their interpretation of the theme of celebrating Oman’s success in 42 years.  The museum’s location being along the Muttrah Corniche will ensure that the wall painting will be a prominent attraction for every passerby.” (Murtadha al Lawati – Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, Museum Manager)left most murals

“…The artistic merit of murals is being recognised by some museums for its artistic, educational and social value as a way of documenting cultural mile stones and historic events, thus adding an atmosphere of celebration.  So maybe it is time for Arab countries to start thinking about incorporating mural art to its artistic landscape as a way of displaying and reflecting art in society.  Let’s not forget that mural art is a conceptual expression of the artist as a method of communicating with no barriers or limits, whether financial or otherwise, as there is no separation between the art and its viewer.” (Dr. Emily Porter)right side 1

right side 2

murals on door

I almost didn’t get a chance to see these 15 murals as they are out of sight when the museum door is open!Roshani and her mural

Roshani, the friendly Sri Lankan secretary/museum-guide/artist, was more than happy to show us her mural which is part of the exhibition (#76).  The museum has a large plaque displaying the name and photo of each artist and their respective mural number.  Even better, the museum gives you an incredible art book with detailed info on each of the artists who contributed to this exhibition.  As an example, here is the page of the artist above, Roshani Rajapaksha:info on Roshani

Let me show you 7 of my favorites from the exhibition (and 1 favorite of my friend) along with some information about each of the artists as a brief example of what incredible talent and experience the artists bring to this exhibition.mural by Heena

info on Heena

mural by Smitha

info on Smitha

mural by Samar al Kaabi

info on Samar

I simply took pics of my favorites and didn’t pay any attention to their gender, experience or nationality and only read up on them later.  It’s nice to see that one of my favorite murals (above) is from a local Muttrah citizen! 🙂mural by Khursheed Raja

info on Khursheed

mural by Marwa Al Hinai

When I asked my friend which mural was his favorite, he didn’t hesitate to point this one out by Marwa Al Hinai.info on Marwa

mural by Yousuf al Nahawi

There is something I like about this pic that is hard to put my finger on.  My friend, on the other hand, thought it was a bit “creepy” or “dark”.  That’s the great thing about going to an exhibition with friends or family. Everyone sees things differently.  It could prove to be quite a feat to try and argue about which is “the best piece”.info on yousuf

It was neat to read that one of the murals that caught my eye was painted by Yousuf Al Nahawi who went into the Guiness Book of World Records for painting the biggest picture of H.M. Sultan Qaboos in mosaic art!mural by Fahad

info on fahad

And for the last mural, what better way to end this display of fine art than with the Omani flag. Very appropriate! 🙂mural by Rabab

info on rabab

Wall Painting 2012 murals

This exhibition is only running until March 31st so you should try to get down there to see this museum and these fascinating murals for yourself.  I can’t wait to see “Wall Paintings 2013“!

Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, Muttrah, Oman

logo of ghalyas museum

Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, located along Muttrah Corniche, opened in January 2011 and is a must-see for all art lovers in Oman. I only became aware of this museum recently and so I wanted to share information about this impressive museum with my readers in order to encourage you to visit it for yourself. (admission-1 OR)front of museum

The museum is located near Muttrah Fort.  “This museum is a dream project of Her Highness Sayyida Dr Ghalya bint Fahr bin Taimour Al Said.”museum map

We believe that this part of the museum will prove of interest both to local Omanis, especially the young, and tourists seeking a flavour of Oman’s rich heritage during a transformative period of its history leading to the wise rule of H.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.”wedding room

The Wedding Rooms – “We enter the first of the richly adorned rooms.  Here is the bride’s mendous (wooden chest) where her dowry and other elaborate items which we see displayed around the room, would normally be kept.  Peering through the second doorway, we glimpse the magical, private world of the bride, sitting on the edge of her wedding bed to be henna-ed for her wedding ceremony from the nearby wooden stand (Mubahara).”kitchen and display rooms

The Kitchen and Display Rooms – “In the first room is a typical Omani kitchen of the time with its metal utensils, newly arrived Primus stoves, powdered milk, tinned and dried goods. Moving through to the second and third rooms, we find displayed elaborately carved doors, an old Omani cannon, African furniture and many imported and traditional items as Omanis truly explored modernisation as H.M. Sultan Qaboos took command and started the renaissance in the country.”carved door 1

I’m fascinated by these elaborately carved doors and wish they had more information on each piece.  I’m sure there’s a great story behind each one of these masterpieces.carved door 2

carved door 3

display room

Another display roommother and childrens room

The Mother and Children’s Room – “Typical of Omani houses in the early/mid 1960’s, this room is full of dolls and toys for the children to play with as mothers sewed and embroidered.  Omani women had a well-deserved reputation for their skill in making clothes, particularly in embroidering Omani dresses and caps.”old Omani dolls

majilis 1

The Majlis – Connecting the Mother and Children’s Room and the Winter Room, this room is full of some lovely pictures of Omani art.  “The Majlis (sitting room) is an example of more refined Omani residences in the 1960’s/70’s.  It is the same era in which electricity found its way to Oman, abruptly bringing Omanis into the modern age with its comparative luxury.  You can see lots of newly arrived utensils in this room.”majlis 2

The 60s was the transition between the old and the modern.  However, the transition was not as great as expected as Omani society was unable to keep abreast with modernity due to the unstable financial situation at that time.  However, goods did start to appear in Omani houses, and wealthier persons started to take an interest in culture and new technology.  In this era the telephone was introduced to Omani society.  Cars appeared too, with stretches of roads being paved.”omani painting in museum

winter room 1

The Winter Room – “This is where the Omanis treated from the cold weather.  As you can see, there are no windows, to prevent drafts and keep in the warmth.  Everybody gathers here.  Grandfather sleeps in this room on the high bed, all his belongings beside him, from books to prayer rugs.  Grandmother shares the room with him and keeps her jewelry, perfumes and accessories here.”winter room 2

The winter room is decorated with tableware from China and other Asian countries which became more commonplace at this time.”painting of muttrah past

A beautiful painting that really transports you back in time and has you imagine what Muttrah must have been like some 50 years back.painting of letter writer

old muttrah fish souk painting

Mussabbehs room

Mussabbeh’s Room – “The room describes the Omani (Musabbeh-a term, not a name!) as he abandons his village, heading to Muscat to earn a living.  As you can see, the room is a mixture of Omani artifacts and modern items, this blend of tradition and modernity creating an evocative scene.  The metal-framed bed, lantern, books, perfumes and other accessories represent the post-World War II modern life.  However, there is also gerab al-tamr ( a basket made of palm leaves used to store dates) which would have contained a full month’s supply of dates.”cool art

There is impressive art everywhere at Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art – even on the outdoor walls.design on outer wall

back gate

Even the back gate to the museum is a work of art! 🙂art gallery

Art Gallery – “The art gallery presently offers an exclusive insight into the works of up-and-coming Omani artists.” Actually, it’s not only for Omani artists, but international artists as well.  The current exhibition, “Marcopolo Scultures“, is of an internationally recognized Ecuadorian artist, named “Marco Polo”.distant gaze sculpture

This piece is titled “Distant Gaze” and sold for 4,160 Omani rials!  The sculptures range in prices from 1,430 to 5,200 OR.  Don’t worry if, like me, you don’t have 4,000 rials to spend on a sculpture; you can always buy something much cheaper at the museum gift shop!gift shop

Plenty of card, gift items and souvenirs of your visit to Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art.  Don’t forget to sign the guest book!

We hope that, during this quick tour of Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, you felt the atmosphere of these houses and their contents.”  Well, I sure did!

In an upcoming blogpost, I will show you some of the incredible murals that make up a prominent attraction of the museum known as “Wall Painting 2012 and soon to be replaced with “Wall Painting 2013” after March 31st. Many thanks to the gracious and hospitable staff of the museum who treated us like royalty (museum-coordinators, Papia Bhattacharya and Luella Almeida as well as designer, Roshani Rajapaksha) and provided all the information you see in this post in italics.  Thanks, ladies! 🙂

The museum is open from 9:30am to 6pm from Saturday to Thursday. Closed on Friday.  The museum is closed on public holidays as well as days set by the Management of Museum.  Admission is 1 OR for ages 12 and up, 500 baizas for kids aged 6-12.  Tel: (968) 2471-1640, Fax: (968)2471-1620, Email: info@ghalyas-museum.com , Address: PO Box 445, PC 117, Al Wadi Khabir, Sultanate of Oman.  www.ghalyasmuseum.com

“ART 100X100 Exhibition” at Bait al Zubair Museum to Support the Fight against Cancer!

Invitation-card-English

Art 100×100” exhibition brings together 100 pieces of art by Muscat-based artists with a shared drive to raise funds for the Oman Cancer Association. This caring and creative endeavor initiated by Ibrahim Gailani unites artists who have been personally moved by or affected by this disease in some way, and personal stories and dedications accompany each art work. Each artwork donated by the artists is for sale at 100 Rials each and 100% goes to fight cancer. The exhibition hosted at Bait Al Zubair Museum brings together a cross-section of Oman’s artistic community under one roof, with established senior artists alongside emerging new talents and students work. The Higher College of Technology’s Photography Department and Scientific College of Design’s Fine Arts Painting Department were involved and the best works of their students and faculty are on show.  3 months ago artists were invited to submit up to 3 pieces in any genre and pieces were then reviewed and selected by a committee comprising of three artists and one curator from Bait Al Zubair Museum – Ibrahim Gailani, Jennie Eden, Yousuf Al Nahwi and Fahad Al Hasni.RHN_3460

(This pic and others as well as all info in this blogpost come courtesy of Bait Zubair in their press release sent to me.)

Ibrahim Gailani explained “The aim of this project is create a harmony of stories that celebrated the spirit of those who we have lost to the disease and that celebrated the spirit of resilience of those who fight this disease on a daily basis. It is an attempt to heal, to unite, to raise awareness of early detection, celebrate the resilience of those who fight the disease and pay tributes to those who have passed.”

Each artwork has its own story to tell.  Here is Story #4: Being TogetherStory No.4 Being Together

Artist: Pragya Bhatnagar,  Title: Being Together  “This painting is the story of a real life brave hearted child and her mother. It is a tribute to a daughter who fought bravely with cancer before succumbing to it. It is a grand salute to her mother who shaved off her head to comfort her daughter and make her feel beautiful while she was going through her treatment.”

Story #5: The Losing BattleStory No 5. The Losing Battle

Artist: Aryel Llanzana, Title: Losing Battle  “I painted roses, because my mom and my aunt loved roses, I selected pink as it represents breast cancer, the reason of my Aunt’s death 1 year ago. I added a human figure beside the vase, that figure shows emotions of sorrow and struggle. This is the pose I saw my mother sitting in her room when she found out that she had colon cancer. I will never forget that scenario she just sat in the corner of her room without any movement. I sat there thinking how I should help or talk to her. This is my tribute to her losing battle!”The Hon.Yuthar AlRawahy Chairperson

The Oman Cancer Association (formerly known as the National Association of Cancer Awareness) founded by cancer survivor The Hon. Yuthar Al-Rawahy recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. The organization has had a number of flagship projects that include the mobile mammography service that has screened more than 6,000 ladies in the past 2 years gaining recognition from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the United Nations.dar al hanan building outside

Dar Al Hanaan is also another notable scheme providing full board and lodging, a shuttle service, psychological and educational support for children with cancer and their families who live outside Muscat; that has had a positive impact on the management of their disease.dar al hanan building inside

     Their next big enterprise will focus palliative care. Fund raising activities have included cancer survivors cycling from Muscat to Salalah, a solo kayak adventure along the coast of Oman and various fun runs. “Art 100×100” is an extension of these initiatives and hopes to raise awareness and funds to combat this disease with your support.Mobile Mammography Unit - pic  2

The Hon. Yuthar Al-Rawahy stated that “We appreciate everyone who volunteers to assist us with our work, all our stakeholders and philanthropic supporters and commend all those who fund-raise for us.   Together we can make a meaning difference to our society.  The Oman Cancer Association would like to thank Ibrahim Gailani for this initiative, all the artists involved, the selection committee as well the Major Sponsors – Bait Al Zubair Museum and Oman Arab Bank and Media Sponsors – Times of Oman and Al Shabiba”.

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Sarah White Museum Director and Arts Advisor at Bait Al Zubair concluded by saying, “We are delighted to support this important cause that combines our socio-cultural interests. Promoting awareness and fund-raising for the noble aims of Oman Cancer Association and exposing Oman’s creative visual arts community to a wider audience.”selection committee left2right_Jennie.Ibrahim.Yusef.Fahad

(The selection committee (L to R): Jennie Eden, Ibrahim Gailani, Yousuf Al Nahwi and Fahad Al Hasni)

Oman Cancer Assocation logo

The exhibition at Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat will be inaugurated by HH Sayyid Faisal bin Turki Al Said, Director General of Marketing and Media, for the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development on the 8th January at 7.30pm. It will be open to the public from the 9th-10th January from 9.30am-6.00pm. All the paintings must be sold and have affordable prices – so support the fight against cancer and visit the show – you may pick up a good art piece whilst contributing to this worthy cause!         May God bless this worthy initiative!

Extraterrestrial Meteorites in Oman?!

(Image from Mr. Meteorite)

One my latest trip to Al Hoota Cave, I found myself fascinated with the information regarding extraterrestrial meteorites which have been found in Oman.  (Sounds like it would make for a great sci-fi movie, no?! 😉 )  The museum at Al Hoota is worth paying a visit if you make it out that way.

If you are interested in reading more about meteorites found in Oman, click here to read this article from Nizwa.net.  I found out here and on several other websites that people are selling meteorites which they’ve found in Oman.  Wow! $395 for a 564 gram chunk of rock.  Maybe I’ll start up a new hobby of “meteorite hunting” on the weekends here.

Meteorite Men – Oman version – starring “Andy in Oman”…what do you think? 😉