New initiative to promote local art


Louai Alasfahani and Rasha Sawas giving details of their plans. The concept is to have one ‘guest star’ artist talk about their work to a group of at least 30 artists.– TIMES OF OMAN

Muscat: A new non-profit arts initiative, called Synergy Art, will begin next week with the goal of bringing together artists to inspire each other and exchange knowledge and experiences.

Synergy Art, the brainchild of Syrian artist Rasha Sawas, will become a platform for artists in Oman, both local and expats, to meet once a month throughout 2014 for a workshop and opportunity to work on their art together. It will operate under the supervision of the Omani Society for Fine Arts (OSFA).

"I love art and I want to make something for all artists, Omani artists, and other artists living in Oman. I feel that synergy is good for Oman. We can take experiences from each other," said Sawas, who is a painter, fashion designer and interior designer, who has lived in Oman for two and a
half years.

The concept of Synergy Art is to have one "guest star" artist talk about their work and techniques to a group of at least 30 artists. Then, together, they will all work on their own art under a set theme, such as wildlife or Omani heritage, explained Louai Alasfahani, a longtime friend of Sawas, who is helping her organise the project.

"The inspiration is in the artist: your colours, your brushes, your energy," Alasfahani noted.

Two exhibitions
Introducing Synergy Art to a group of local artists at the OSFA on Monday, Alasfahani, who is also deeply passionate about art, said the events would be free of charge, though participants may have to bring their own art supplies. There will also be two exhibitions, one in June and one in December, to display the results of the workshops.

"One of the main objectives is getting exposure for the artists," he said, adding that there would be social media platforms and ties to local media outlets to highlight the project.

For artists in Oman, the Synergy Art initiative comes as a welcome addition to the growing arts community. Omani painter Tahira Fida, who plans on attending the events, said that artists here need more support, so programs like Synergy Art are ideal for promoting artists.

 "Artists here are in need. Yes, we've done a lot, but I don't think we've reached the point of the UAE or Kuwait. We are in need of these projects and people who volunteer their time and effort to do something for Omani artists," she said.

Artist and professor of Fine Arts Education at SQU, Dr Fakhriya Al Yahyai, added that she, too, is looking forward to having a forum in which artists can motivate each other and share their thoughts and ideas.

"I think it's a great gathering for the artists. It's like a creativity gathering. When you put the artists all together, it will be for the benefit of society," Al Yahyai said.

The first Synergy Art event will take place on Wednesday, January 29, starting at 9am. Anwar Sonia, who is fondly referred to as the "godfather" of Omani artists because of his role as a founding member of OSFA, is scheduled to be the first "guest star" artist.

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