Meaningful strokes

March 05, 2020

Naila al Mamari will be oman’s representative in an art event to celebrate International Women's Day in Dubai. starting thursday, Art Connects Women - International exhibition organised by ZeeArts will feature artworks of 100 female artists from 100 countries. 

Naila will be exhibiting a painting from her series titled Praises created in 2019. Abstract in style, it has a psychedelic effect while simultaneously reminding the viewer of a microscope cross-section of some tubular living organism. Naila, however, described the piece as “prayers in abstract with bright circular beads mounted on trees rising high into the sky with praises for the Almighty” in an interview in October 2019.

She used geometric circles to indicate permanence and continuity and was inspired by the “tool of praise in most religions - prayer beads”. the series Praises was shown in October 2019 in an exhibition titled Imty with colours of goodness held at Bait al Zubair aimed at reviving the village in the wilayat of Izki, Governorate of Dakhiliyah.

According to Naila, when she visited Imty, it wasn’t the iconic arches, doors or windows in the villages that struck her. “I focused on the trees with symbolic prayer beads,” she said describing the series, one of which will now be shown at the Art Connects Women. Naila’s art style is distinct and standouts for the use of various materials on the surface of the paintings. “I like to keep my paintings in rich colours showing textures and expressing my identity.

My identity, nature and everything around me inspires me,” she said of her creative process. Formally trained in art, Naila has a master’s degree in International Con-temporary Art & Design Practice acquired from Limkokwing University of Creative technology in Malaysia. she worked with the Omani society for Fine Arts for 20 years. Having held her first solo show in 2008, Naila has exhibited in solo and joint shows in Oman and abroad.

Zaahirah Muthy, art activist from Mauritius and founder of ZeeArts, said, “Naila was selected by our curator as we felt she is really in the subject; her technique and profile will definitely add value as well. she is the right candidate to be the Omani artist ambassador. We look forward to welcome her to Art Connects Women 2020.” the event started in 2017 with 20 artists from 20 countries.

“After a year, when we announced again, we had 78 artists from 78 countries. We keep one artist per country as we want to pay tribute to women artists around the world,” Zaahirah said. “since we started, every year we have had an omani artist. this year it is Naila. We had 289 applications from over 100 countries this time around.” Naila, however, pointed out that she was contacted by the organisers to participate in the event.

Art Connects Women brings together female artists to laud the creativity, strength and passion with which they express themselves, according to an official communiqué from the Dubaibased organiser of the event. the fourth edition of the event has been themed ‘each for equal’ with the objective of “spreading awareness and providing an impetus to the importance of building and nurturing an inclusive society that overrides differences of gender, race, class, generations and geography”, the communiqué stated.

Zaahirah informed that the four-day event will provide a platform for women artists to connect and network strategically to tackle some of the greatest challenges faced by today’s female entrepreneurs and artists. Besides the exhibition at the one&only royal Mirage resort, the event will include the unveiling of an art book (Women Artists Around the World), a conference bringing together women leaders from several industries to address the theme ‘each for equal’ on Saturday at Dubai opera, and an awards night and fashion show on Sunday.

ZeeArts aims to connect and empower local and international artists through art exhibitions, retreats and cultural exchanges, Zaahirah further elaborated. the organisation is committed to social responsibility, including investing in female artists to meet the needs of long-term productivity and sustainable growth to bolster economies. Proud of being the chosen one to represent the sultanate in the international show, Naila said the Omani art scene is gaining momentum and deserves to be shared internationally.

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