Following on from our Anglo-Omani Society Art Competition celebrating Oman’s 50th National Day, we conducted interviews with the three talented winners to gain a deeper insight into their lives as artists and their esteemed artwork.
Our second-place winner, Elizabeth Davis, is a prominent artist in the Oman art community. Much of Elizabeth's artwork is greatly inspired by the scenic beauty of Oman and its deep-routed culture.
"The Omani village folk are excellent craftsmen, with skills handed down through the generations. The thorny stunted Acacia trees are typical of the region and provide a cool shade. You often see children nearby, happily playing with each other. Nimble-footed mountain goats are also an integral part of the Omani villages. The evening skies have a hazy pink hue, probably due to the dust in the air. My 4 panels have been done in such a way that it can be placed in various combinations, or individually, or as a diptych or triptych."
We spoke to Elizabeth to find out more about her stunning piece entitled 'Omani Artisans' and about her artistic, and personal connection to Oman.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from a small place in India called Kerala, it is the most southern part of India. I have spent almost equal time in both India and Oman. Having been in Oman for almost 30 years now, Muscat is like a home away from home for me. I have been dabbling in art since I can remember, it has always been a big passion of mine. For the last 4/5 years it has all been art. Now, art is my life. I have my own little studio and I paint whenever the mood strikes me.
2. Do you have an established style of art?
I paint so differently that most people look at my artwork and say there is nothing similar about my pieces at all. Unlike many artists, I do not have an established style of art. I keep jumping back and forth to anything new. I like to stay out of my comfort zone. Besides painting, I love to work with my hands, I do a lot of arts and crafts and up-cycling, I hate to throw things away. I often look into other people's trash cans for inspiration for my art pieces!
3. Have you entered many art competitions?
I have been involved in a fair few. I am a member of the Omani Society of Fine Arts; they have conducted many competitions. Being an Indian national, I am also part of the Indian Social Club Art Wing, the Indian embassy have also had a few competitions which I have entered.
4. What do you enjoy most about painting/creating?
The creation itself is the sheer joy of painting. When something goes the way you want it to, you suddenly feel at one with then creator which gives you a feeling of ultimate satisfaction, unmatched by any other!
5. How does this piece reflect your connection with Oman?
It reflects my total connectivity with Oman. Initially when I started painting, I would use books and magazines, but in the last 5 years I began to focus on Omani themes, and I am finding it so delightful. From my paintings, you can see what a huge impact Oman has had on my artwork. For this particular piece I worked on it a few years back but was not satisfied with it, so I kept adding to it along the way. I added the children and the animals to give it a more ethnic feel, I changed the entire background making it a pale pink, to match the evenings skies in Oman. The whole painting is an impressionist style, it is a polyptych piece.
6. What was your creative process in making this piece?
I used acyclic paints with a knife, and four pieces of stretched canvas. This particular painting was not based off a real-life image. I had to scout around a lot of web pages and magazines to get various figures, including the goats. Each goat is from a different picture and the colours have been changed. One of the girls and one Omani man were both from imagination. This imagery is typically Omani, you often see people sitting under streets and goats climbing the trees and children playing around the village.
7. What does this piece mean to you?
Every piece I work on is the best piece for that moment. Certainly, this piece is a favourite of mine because of the award it has received. In that way it holds a special place in my heart, but every piece I work on eventually becomes my favourite. You need to truly love the piece in order to get the best out of it.
8. What emotions does this piece evoke for you?
It evokes various emotions for me. This piece emphasises the role of crafts people in Oman. Going to the souks in Oman is like a treasure trove. Oman has retained its cultural values and has persevered its heritage. This painting highlights this role and conveys a rustic feel. As soon as someone looks at my painting, they should immediately know this is Oman if they have visited before.
A massive thank you to Elizabeth, it was wonderful to learn more about her creative processes and artistic influences!
If you would like to see more of Elizabeth's work, please click here.