'Graffiti not vandalism'
For Sultan al Hassani, graffiti is more than just drawings and writings scribbled on the wall. It is a fine art and no different from any other. Hassani’s remarkable skill is reflected in graffiti which he describes as an excellent medium to express ideas and emotions as well as a good way to convey messages.
“Each and every one of us has a particular way of expressing his or her feelings and emotions. Some like to write it down, others prefer to paint or even play a musical instrument. i do graffiti. Whether I’m feeling happy or sad, i always find refuge in graffiti. It is a good way to show how I feel,” Hassani said.
He goes to great lengths to debunk the general public perception that graffiti is a form of vandalism.
“There is a huge difference between graffiti and vandalism. First and foremost, graffiti is a fine art with a message whereas vandalism is an attempt to deface and distort. Secondly, vandalism has a malicious intent, aimed to cause harm, while graffiti with its vivid colours and styles is a joy to behold,” Hassani said.
He further added that in many parts of the world, there are neighbourhoods dedicated to graffiti, which is testimony to the fact that it is not vandalism. Explaining why graffiti is an excellent form of expression, he said it has no boundaries.
“Ever since I was a child, i loved to draw and paint. I was introduced to graffiti much later in life and loved what it offered and the fact that it has no boundaries. You can draw whatever you want and however you feel.
While other arts, like portrait painting, and to some extent playing music is confined to a specific venue - like an exhibition gallery or theatre - graffiti is drawn in a public place. It offers opportunities to interact with people, besides scope for publicity.” according to Hassani, every person sees graffiti from his or her own perspective.
While for some, graffiti is associated with angst, others might think is reflects confusion or perhaps even happiness.
Asked what inspires him, Hassani said, “Emotions. Love, affection and longing prompt me to reach out for my spray cans and create graffiti. These feelings can hardly be expressed in words but can be very effective when expressed via graffiti.”
A marketing specialist with a degree acquired in Malaysia, Hassani works in planning events besides running a business in designing t-shirts. He creates graffiti at local community events and festivals, and his art has appeared at Oman Club, Wadi Kabir, on several occasions.
A resident of Bausher, Hassani is keen to popularise Arabic calligraphy through his art as he believes it has been neglected over time. “I can’t emphasise enough the fact that graffiti is not vandalism nor is it linked to shanty towns and gangsters. It is a fine art that is simply practiced on the streets and in public,” he reiterated.
(Contributed by Mohammed al Dhiyabi)