Finnish artist paints Omanís vibrant beauty on canvas


Matti Sirvioís first painting from Oman is a glowing shade of mango, much like the bright sunlight he experienced. - Supplied photo

Muscat: An exhibition by Finnish artist Matti Sirvio, which reflected both his impressions of Oman and his deeper philosophical and religious ideas, opened on Thursday evening at Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art in Muttrah.

Titled 'When Lakes Meet Oceans', the exhibition featured 26 canvases filled with intense, vibrant colours and primarily abstract subjects.

Sirvio, a 56-year-old who studied art in university but then took a 28-year hiatus from painting to pursue other interests, said his work expresses his impressions of different places he has lived and visited and his thoughts about religion, life and death and other topics that aren't always easy to talk about.

"I think art is a great way to relate to some touchy issues that can't be verbalised so easily but through pictures you can deal with them one way or another," Sirvio told Times of Oman.

Some reoccurring themes in his work include death, holiness and the connection between heaven and earth.

Sirvio, who describes himself as fast, explosive painter, said the beauty of abstract art, such as his, is that it can connect with people in different ways. People who see his work can also bring their own thoughts and ideas to his canvases, too, he noted.

"I want people to look into them and discover things that aren't even there. I love that. That's how art should be!" he said.  

Though he was born and raised in northern Finland, in an area dominated by blue tones and other sombre colours, Sirvio's work relies heavily on vivid oranges, reds, yellows and bright turquoise shades. He says these are a reflection of his own character and the influences of the cultures he has explored.

His first painting from Oman, for example, is a glowing shade of mango, much like the bright sunlight he experienced.

The exhibition included 13 paintings Sirvio created in Oman. They not only reflect that warm light, but also the architecture, nature and people, whom he says seem to be artists themselves.

"People here have a strong sense of beauty. They are very soft, tender people. I would call it their spirituality or sensitivity," he said thoughtfully.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, and it will be on display until November 8.

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