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 third, and final winner, Anjali Babu, a versatile artist and painter residing in Oman. Anjali takes much of her artistic inspiration from the natural culture and heritage of Oman. Her work includes portraits, landscape paintings, figurative themes and abstracts that radiate positive energy in any setting.
We interviewed Anjali to dicuss her breathtaking piece entitled 'Omani Traditions' depicting two, young Omani boys in a cultural greeting.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did your journey as an artist begin?
I am an Indian artist residing in Oman for the past 24 years. I was taught by several artists and attended many workshops. I first exhibited my work in the Oman Fine Arts Society and I have been involved with multiple exhibitions since.
My passion for art has always been there. I used to paint and draw as a child, but studies, school and marriage took priority. After I had my children, I was able to focus more on my art. Now, I consider art to be my full-time career.
2. What it is your main style of painting?
I love to paint portraits, and recently have begun to do hyper-realistic portraits. I also love to paint Omani culture and traditions. I dabble a little in watercolour, painting the Omani landscapes and sceneries, such as the wadis and the beautiful mountains.
3. What is your connection to Oman?
I have been here for a huge part of my life. I just love the Omani culture, they are such humble, kind people. I often visit villages where I’m grateful to receive the affection and hospitality of the Omani people. I am so impressed with their hospitality! I feel very connected to the people and the culture. You could say, I am perhaps more connected to Oman than I am to India, as I have spent half my lifetime here and only visit India on vacations.
4. What did this piece represent?
It is showing the Omani traditional greeting. When friends and family members meet, they have a culture of rubbing their noses together to show the love and affection they have for each other. I wanted to capture this tradition. In India we do not have this particular traditional greeting, we hug but do not rub noses!
5. What was your creative process in making this piece?
First, I start off with the pencil drawings, brief sketches, and outlines. Then, I begin to add the details with colour. This painting was done in oil paints.
This picture was based off a photo from Google images! The photographer captured this image perfectly. I loved the affection captured in the nose rubbing.
6. Who are your biggest artistic inspirations?
I adore the works of Raja Ravi Varma, a great Indian artist and Rembrandt, the famous Dutch artist. Of course, I take great inspiration from my art teachers, I have had many in the past.
7. What does this piece mean to you personally?
I just love my paintings, when you finish a piece you almost feel complete. I received many compliments on this specific piece for depicting the Omani culture so well.
8. What emotions did this piece evoke for you?
I feel like it is more than just a picture. It feels very real, as if two boys are in front of me nose rubbing, the innocence and life of this piece is what I really find so special.
The general impression created by the 'Omani Traditions' painting is one of utter warmth and affection, enriched by culture and tradition. The warmth comes from the complementary colour scheme, the soothing tones, and the harmony created by the two Omani boys embracing. The striking composition creates a bold impact, viewers are immediately drawn to the focus of the painting- the traditional greeting of nose rubbing. The use of oil paints allows for a seamless transition from one colour to another. The brush strokes are very soft and subtle, emphasising the delicate nature of the subject matter. Essentially, this painting depicts, love, hope and an appreciation of Omani culture.
Thank you very much to Anjali for giving us a deeper insight into the creative process behind her piece, and sharing her artistic inspirations with us.
If you would like to see more of Anjali's work click here.