Omani artist Alia Al Farsi collaborated with the Khaleeji Art Museum, the first digital museum dedicated to the art and photography of the Arab Gulf States, to digitise over two hundred of her life’s works. The collaboration was marked by an exclusive launch event that was held earlier today, June 12, 2022, in Al Farsi’s art gallery, Alia Gallery, in Muscat’s Al Rusayl. The launch event was attended by officials and members of Oman’s art community.
The accomplished artist, whose works have been exhibited internationally in more than twenty events and who has held ten solo exhibitions in cities such as Paris, Tokyo, Dubai and Brussels, has spent decades creating art pieces that depict Omani culture and society, especially Omani women.
‘For me, art has always been a medium to preserve my identity, express my thoughts, and celebrate the culture and nature of my homeland, Oman,’ says Al Farsi. ‘I was born in Muttrah, a centre of marine trade in Oman with a rich heritage. This city left a long impact on my life, hence my art. I am continuously inspired by the colours of Oman; the colours of the female traditional dresses and I always make it a point to include elements of Omani heritage in my works.’
The artist has earned a reputation for creating larger than life works and for using diverse materials such as Cambodian textiles, motor vehicles and furniture pieces as her canvases. A number of these artworks are available for viewers to walk in and see at Alia Gallery.
However, the collaboration with the Khaleeji Art Museum, through which Al Farsi’s works are permanently exhibited in a digital gallery that is open to art lovers around the world, unveils works that have been previously unseen by the general public. Included is a new series of ten mixed media works by Al Farsi. Entitled Faces and Destinies, the series focuses on the human face and expressions.
‘The inspiration behind this series is the post-covid era, as people can now connect with each other more freely, unveiling genuine smiles, concerns and other emotions,’ says Al Farsi in reference to the recent relaxation of mask-wearing restrictions in numerous countries across the world, including Oman. ‘Friendship, love and other sorts of human relationships are often taken at face value. Our facial expressions, no matter how minimal they look, are manifestations of our principles and persona. In a way or another, our looks have an impact on the way we carry ourselves, and in this series, I convey how characters connect with their surroundings and views of the world.’
Though abstract, Al Farsi admits that she derived inspiration from the people of her community for this series. ‘I think that every cell and muscle in our bodies radiate what we feel. Our faces reflect these feelings and emotions strongly,’ she explains. ‘Through a glimpse at one’s eyes, it is easy to tell if they are going through enjoyable or rough times. Our hairlines, eyebrows, cheeks, lips and eyes speak louder than words, hence comes my fascination with the miracle of creating a human’s face…I hope that these faces will help people explore and discover themselves better. To leave with a more sophisticated and thorough understanding of their emotions.’
Al Farsi is happy to be the first Omani artist to digitise her life’s works with the Khaleeji Art Museum. ‘The digitisation of art is not new to the region, but to have a permanent and dedicated online space for a renowned artist where people can freely view and collect art is,’ she notes. ‘I think I can name a hundred reasons for the importance of digitisation. However, one of the most vital advantages is not only to showcase your art to millions.’
She adds, ‘The reach of digital media platforms extends to the whole world, and it offers curators and art museums an opportunity to discover talents across borders.’
Likewise, the Khaleeji Art Museum is pleased to be able to share and introduce Al Farsi’s work with many around the world and to further familiarise them with art of the Gulf region. ‘The region is booming with incredibly talented artists such as Alia Al Farsi and, through our museum, we are delighted to be able to showcase their work on an international scale, ’ says Manar Alhinai, the museum’s founding director. ‘We hope to digitise the work of more artists from the region in the future.’
Not only does the digital gallery contain previously unseen works by the artist, but it will also form a virtual story of Al Farsi’s evolving relationship with her art. Visitors will witness the changes of style, emotions and messages in her work over the years.
Alia Al Farsi’s digital gallery at the Khaleeji Art Museum is now live worldwide. Visit it on www.khaleejiartmuseum.com.
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