Ammar Alkiyumi Uses Art to Reflect on Identity

The artist shares how architecture and urban planning shaped his work.

By Sekka

Identity by Omani artist Ammar Alkiyumi. Image courtesy of Ammar Alkiyumi.

Ammar Alkiyumi is one of Oman’s emerging artists who enjoys exploring themes related to the identity of places and people. ‘I feel that there is a misconception that uniformity is what informs the identity of a place and I try to challenge this idea in my work,’ says the 28 year old.

This is apparent in Alkiyumi’s latest work, Identity. The photograph is ‘a type of parody that plays on the idea of the image of a certain community, a superficial and oversimplified image of a place or people, by others and by the community itself,’ says the young artist. ‘This belief that identity is driven by stereotypical images is blind to the richness, depth and diversity of culture. We conform to that image, and it starts to become our own image of ourselves.’

28 year old Omani artist Ammar Alkiyumi. Image by Fotomagic.

The work, which is currently on display in Muscat’s Makan Studios as part of its Around the Corner Exhibition was informed by Alkiyumi’s academic and professional background. ‘Unfortunately, in architecture the expression of the owners and architects are often reduced to the choice of preconceived and oversimplified architectural styles, for example, modern, classical, or islamic,’ says the graduate of Urban Planning and Architectural Design and the founder of Awan Design+Build Studio.

Standard 001 (top) and Standard 002 (bottom) are currently in competition for the Young Emerging Artist Prize that is annually held by Stal Gallery, Oman. Images courtesy of Ammar Alkiyumi.

In addition to using photography as an artistic medium, Alkiyumi also enjoys creating installations. His installation, Standard 001 and Standard 002, is currently in competition for the Young Emerging Artist Prize that is annually held by Stal Gallery, Oman. ‘The idea of this work was to use mass produced hollow blocks and house number plates to create a metaphorical image or a “feeling” that represents the sprawling and homogeneous suburbs around our cities,’ he explains. ‘My studies and work definitely influenced it as it made me realise the difference between sustainable and unsustainable urban growth.’

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