Over 50 valuable artworks from some of Britain’s most prominent artists are making their way to the Sultanate of Oman. The paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures exhibited in Bait al Zubair Museum in Muscat, the capital city of the Sultanate, represents a 100 years of British landscape art. For the first time ever in Oman, such master-pieces will be made available for public viewing. The pieces come from the British Council collection that is considered to be one of the largest in the world focusing on artworks by British artists.
What is landscape art?
Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition. In other works landscape backgrounds for figures can still form an important part of the work. Sky is almost always included in the view, and weather is often an element of the composition.
How old is this art discipline?
The earliest ‘pure landscapes’ with no human figures are frescos from Minoan Greece of around 1500 BCE. More ancient Roman landscapes survive, from the 1st century BCE onwards, especially frescos of landscapes decorating rooms that have been preserved at archaeological sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum and elsewhere, and mosaics.
Landscape art in Oman
Oman has a diverse and magical landscape from mountains, coast, to wadis and deserts. Many Omani artists like to paint landscapes.
‘Muna’ in Dhofar, in the south of Oman connects in her work ‘ The Kytes’ the characteristic kite flying of the south-west monsoon in Salalah with the mapple leaf of the so-called tree native to Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. In her painting of the landscape of ‘Mughsayl’ she shows her world to the outside world.
‘Mayada Reehan’ likes to freewheel in her abstracts. For her abstracts she is inspired by nature. In her work there is a vivid flirtation going on between the colours and the forms.
Why British landscape art in Oman?
Sarah White Arts Advisor and Museum Director at Bait Al Zubair: ”This show is part of our ongoing activities to advance and develop the arts, the contemporary art scene and provide opportunities for the local community in Oman to engage with internationally recognised master pieces. This exhibition includes artists Like Paul Nash, Spencer Gore, L.S Lowry, John Tunnard, Frank Auerbach, William Coldstream, William Blake and Turner prize winner Richard Long. It highlights how the artists have responded to, and drawn inspiration from, the world in which they have lived and created. Paul Doubleday, Director of the British Council stated: The exhibition is the highlight of over a years’ work collaborating with the fine arts scene in Oman. Not only have we worked with the Omani Society of Fine Arts with the Omani Legends project; we have supported an Omani artist Hassan Meer’s residency at the Delfina Foundation in the UK as well as facilitated six Omani artists trip to London on a professional development tour. In the coming months in Muscat we will be hosting a workshop on Landscape painting as well as a country wide schools competition that will run in parallel with the exhibition”.
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