Mohammed Darwish al Balushi is a gifted sculptor who creates the most imaginative pieces in metal using scrap material. The 36 year old works in the art décor department of Royal Court Affairs in Seeb.
A member of the Omani Society for Fine Arts, Balushi started metal sculpting in 2001. “Sculpting metal is difficult; it is not easy to get the desired shape and form with iron. It needs patience, time and physical strength but with practise, it becomes easy,” Balushi said.
The cost of materials needed in metal sculpting varies according to the shape desired in the piece being created. “I buy iron from vendors that sell scrap material from cars and industrial equipment. I also source some metal pieces from building materials shops. Some pieces require components that I have to buy from outside Oman,” Balushi said.
According to the sculptor, welding machines and tools are expensive, and the cost of maintaining a workshop is high requiring financial support. “The most difficult part of metal sculpting is sourcing the exact materials needed from scrap. But after that, handling the weight of the metal components and firing the material to get the desired shape is also challenging.” While handling the weight of the metal components, the sculptor also needs precision to produce art.
“Shaping iron is cumbersome work done with fabrication machines. When cutting iron, one needs to be cautious and adopt all possible safety measures. But despite that, one suffers mild burns and wounds. Proper safety measures and workshop conditions, and most importantly correct machines, are essential for metal sculpting,” Balushi explained.
Other than creating pieces that express his sense of realism, what gives Balushi most artistic satisfaction is conveying social messages through his sculptures.
“I visualise the subjects in my mind before setting to work on any piece,” said the self-trained sculptor who is thankful to his father for supporting him through his artistic endeavours.
Balushi’s works have been acquired by several businesses and educational institutions where they have taken pride of place in showcases.
His works are available to view on social media platforms, including Instagram, and his gallery will soon be supported by the Omani Society for Fine Arts.