At Large  February 5, 2022

Sekka Highlights Creative Giants from Gulf Arab States in Latest Issue

Created: Sat, 02/05/2022 - 17:25
Author: jeremy

Art & Object has partnered with Sekka Magazine to share their amazing art coverage. Founded in 2017 by Manar and Sharifah Alhinai, Sekka is an online arts and culture platform that highlights remarkable stories from around the Arab world. Sekka's mission is to reclaim "the narrative about the Arab World and specifically the Gulf Arab States, in international media, by providing [their] global audience with an authentic insight and guide to one of the most important and misunderstood regions in the world, narrated by the people who are from there." Sekka works with journalists across the Arab world, and ninety percent of the content creators in Sekka Magazine are Arab women. 

Each month, Art & Object is highlighting Sekka's best art stories. Our hope is that our readers come away from these stories more knowledgeable about this culturally rich part of the world but also are able to emotionally connect with art and artists that they might not otherwise have been exposed to. The latest issue of Sekka Magazine is dedicated to Creative Giants from Gulf Arab states. Here are five stories from that issue.

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Image courtesy of Mujahid Al Malki. Via Sekka Magazine
Mujahid Al Malki: The Visual Poet


In Swim Good, a man in a light blue suit is depicted floating in a swimming pool with pineapples surrounding him. The photograph symbolises the escape that many of those working under the stress of the corporate world dream of; an escape to a world that is ‘perfect, where you swim in an ocean, and where the sun always shines,’ the photograph’s accompanying description provides. The photograph is the work of Mujahid Al Malki (who is better known simply as ‘Muji’), a 27-year-old multidisciplinary artist from Oman whose reflective photographs and digital artworks highlight the issues that the everyday man and woman face – from maintaining a positive mind set in a world of negativity to love and living with nostalgic feelings...

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Image courtesy of Alia Al Farsi. Via Sekka Magazine
The Modern Omani Art Pioneers


Artists have long played a vital role in developing Oman’s rich connection between contemporary and traditional art forms. Home to a coterie of artists whose ambitious collections are a complex tie between self-expression and heritage, Oman’s art scene captures the depths of its land and people. Two artists, Alia Al Farsi and Hassan Meer, have been fundamental change makers in the art scene. They are considered some of the ‘originals,’ or among the founding figures of modern Omani art...

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Image courtesy of Mahmood Al Zadjali. Via Sekka Magazine
Mahmood Al Zadjali, Abdulaziz Alhosni and Israa Al Balushi Talk Conceptual Photography in Oman


Forget everything you think you know about Oman’s art scene – the past decade has ushered in a new wave of young photographers who are looking inward and doing things differently than their more traditional predecessors. Abdulaziz Alhosni divided opinions earlier this year when he posted a moody portrait of himself clad in a dishdasha (traditional white dress worn by men in the Gulf region) and submerged in water. Israa Al Balushi recently tapped into the realm of augmented reality to explore the fragility of our reality in a pandemic-stricken world...

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Image courtesy of Waad Al Harthy. Via Sekka Magazine
Maisa Al Jabri Argues that Creativity Needs Freedom


People tend to get scared of things that they are ignorant of. This fear and vulnerability are usually communicated as rage and rejection. Omani society puts boundaries to try and protect what it considers traditional and rejects anything new it is not used to. This can limit the creativity of artists in the country and discourage them from exploring new ideas or tackling important issues...

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Image by Yahya Alhajri for Sekka. Via Sekka Magazine
Reflections on Organising Oman’s First Creative Festival


One of the things that we know for sure as a result of our work at Sekka, through which we have focused on art, culture, opinions and literature related to the Gulf region and wider Arab world, for approximately five years now, is the Arab world’s creative talents. Amongst the creatives that have continued to impress us with their abilities over the years have been the creatives of Oman. The talents and skills of Oman’s people, especially its burgeoning youth population, who form over 50 per cent of its total population, have stood out to us time and again...