Art Beats series – Happy chaos
The window drapes were drawn and warm lights in the parlour created a fitting ambience as two unique stalwarts of art in Oman came together to explore common ground that makes different artists tick – Ibrahim Gilani in conversation with Farah Asqul.
The second episode of the video series called Art Beats, shot by Studio.t in Asqul's home at Al Mawaleh North, near Al Mouj Muscat, on February 18, sought to provide budding as well as established artists in Oman a few glimpses about how an artist explores his/her own potential by taking up challenges with varied media and coming up trumps in almost every venture.
Asqul showcased her varied art as well as explained how she took to different media with ease, whenever the need arose, and in the bargain learnt a lot about her own creative flair. Her home is not only decked up with her art but also a testimony to the many challenges she took up during various stages of her creative journey.
When asked by Gailani as to what defines her creative aesthetic, Asqul said she works with many different mediums and whatever she produces with her own creativity could be described as 'happy chaos'. The ease with which she switches from different genres of art, as well as the different techniques that she has used to express herself (from collages and installations to paintings) are all bound by one common assertion – the subject chooses the appropriate medium needed.
“My mediums are chosen according to the subject matter. So it is fun to be able to go from paintings to sculpture and other forms of art. It brings out a different spirit in each subject,” Asqul said, asserting that her tryst with varied media happened because each subject demanded the most apt medium for it.
Hosted by Gailani, Art Beats is dedicated to showcasing art across various media. Gailani, who is a self-taught contemporary artist of Iraqi and Pakistani descent living in Muscat, has exhibited in the Middle-East, Europe and North America and his recent works are known for its pop-up inspired portraits with street graffiti lettering. Founder of Gailani Art Retreat, a creative gateway of self-expression using painting and music that has engaged more than 800 participants through 50 art retreats since its inception in 2013.
On the other hand, Farah, a graduate of Fine Art, specialising in painting, from Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK, and a diploma holder of curation for galleries and museums from the University of London, has been experimenting with varied styles of art to explore different cultural identities and to discover different sides to her own talent. She has exhibited her work and curated several exhibitions in the UK as well as in Oman where she has worked on exhibitions at Bait Muzna Gallery, Gallery Sarah, Bait al Zubair Museum, and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Art Gallery.
Farah believes that her work is reminiscent of expressionism but ranges between painting and installation and explores a cultural narrative and symbolism in Arabia. Art, according to her, cannot be limited to a single medium. It is the artist’s imagination which explores newer realms to find the most apt expression in the most apt medium, she says.
The 'After Party'
This piece was created by putting together the creative expression from hundreds of live sketches and sculptures of human figures which Asqul has in her studio and uses them in many of her artworks. “These are people seen together after a party, kind of relaxing and spending time together,” she explained.