We are delighted to announce a series of new commissions and an exhibition by four early career artists from Oman – Ruqaiya Al Balushi, Rawan Al Mahrouqi, Safa Baluchi, Riham Noor Al Zadjali – and the established Finnish artist Elina Brotherus responding to the theme of resonance.
This project developed in partnership with Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman, and supported by the British Council through the UK-Gulf exhibition programme, includes an eight-month programme of production, mentoring and exchange culminating in a two-week artist residency in Oman, an exhibition of the new works at Stal Gallery in March 2020 and a public programme.
For the past five months, the four commissioned artists have been developing ideas for their new works through a series of scores. Each month, they received from Elina Brotherus a very short instruction based on Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art from the 1950s-70s to respond to. The scores included works by VALIE EXPORT, Henning Christiansen, Rémy Zaugg and Yoko Ono.
This period of experimentation and exploration is culminating in an artist residency in Oman from 1 to 14 December 2019. The artists will spend two weeks together working on their projects and sharing ideas in the rural landscapes of central and coastal Oman. On 14 December, during a public talk at Stal Gallery, the artists will share their share some work-in-progress and discuss the process of working together over the past few months.
The exhibition of the newly commissioned work will open on the 4 March 2020 at Stal Gallery, Muscat, and continue until 31 March 2020.
Resonance is a series of new works commissioned by The Wapping Project, London. The project is a collaboration with Stal Gallery, Muscat and is generously supported by the British Council, DCMS and GREAT through the UK-Gulf exhibition programme.
Ruqaiya Al Balushi (b.1991) graduated from the University of Nizwa in central Oman. Ruqaiya works across drawing, photography, video and digital arts. In her practice, she draws on her experience as an artist living and working within the Arab culture. He works ask questions about search for balance in human existence, struggle between light and darkness, shadows lurking in the depths of oneself, dreams and failure. Ryqaiya belongs to Baluchi ethnic and cultural minority in Oman. Her work was shown in Oman and Saudi Arabia. She was shortlisted for the Young Emerging Artist Prize (YEAP) run by Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman, in 2015 and participated in a number of exhibitions at the gallery.
Rawan Al Mahrouqi (b.1991) graduated from Sultan Qaboos University Muscat. Rawan multidisciplinary practice focuses on the female experience in the Arabian Gulf, the double standards, the thin line between tradition and religion. She draws most of her inspiration from her Khaleeji (Arabian Gulf) culture and the experiences she has had growing up and living in the region. She won the Young Emerging Artist Prize (YEAP) run by Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman, in 2015. Her work was featured in the Arte documentary Women in Islam. In 2018, Rawan, together with her sisters, founded Makan Studios art school, the first of its kind, offering arts classes to adults and children in Muscat.
Safa Baluchi (b.1992) graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spatial Design from the University of Nizwa. She works across performance, video, photography and installation. Her work, which draws on her personal experience, explores questions around the relationship between the individual and the society. Depression, entrapment and erosion are recurring themes in her work. She won the Young Emerging Artist Prize (YEAP) run by Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman, in 2015 and participated in a number of exhibitions at the gallery. In 2018, she curated Disfiguration exhibition at Stal Gallery.
Riham Noor Al Zadjali graduated with BA in Fine Arts from Paris American Academy. In her work, Riham poses question about the most current global events including conflicts, military interventions, displacement and migration. Her work has been shown widely in Oman. She was shortlisted for the Young Emerging Artist Prize (YEAP) run by Stal Gallery, Muscat, Oman, in 2015. She cofounded the initiative Art with Refugee, a traveling exhibition of artworks by refugees and artists from around the world in support of better living conditions for refugees mostly in Greece. The exhibition was shown in Piraeus, Greece, Children’s Museum of Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, the Human (Art)istic Festival in Brussels, Belgium, as well as in Spain and Oman.
Elina Brotherus (b. 1972) works in photography and moving image. Her work has been alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches. Photographs dealing with the human figure and the landscape, the relation of the artist and the model, gave way to images on subjective experiences in her recent bodies of work Annonciation and Carpe Fucking Diem. In her current work she is revisiting Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s-70s. Another ongoing interest is photographing in iconic houses by architects like Alvar Aalto, Hundertwasser and Michel Polak. Brotherus takes roles of various imagined characters, thus bringing a tranquil human presence to the spaces. Elina has been exhibiting widely since 1997 and her work is represented in major public collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, MAXXI, Rome, Fondacion ARCO, Madrid, Hasselblad Center, Gothenburg, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, and Museum Folkwang, Essen, to name a few.