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Traditional artisans shine at Muscat Festival
January 31, 2018 | 6:42 PM
by Ismael David Mujahid
 
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Traditional artisans from across the Sultanate are showcasing handmade crafts of the highest quality at this year’s Muscat Festival, taking Oman’s wealth of multidisciplinary art to greater heights. From wooden picture frames to artistic engravings, Al Amerat’s Heritage Village has it all.

50-year-old farmer Mubarak bin Khatim Al Abrawi from the village of Al Hazm in Ibra uses his skills as a woodcarver to create Omani mandoos, screens, and replica ships that have attracted a variety of customers since the festival opened. This is his 8th year participating in the Sultanate’s largest annual festival and sees it as an integral part of connecting Omani traditions to new audiences from within the region and beyond.

“I love the festival because it allows me to meet new people, learn new things, and share my art with others. “It’s been a blessing,” he told. The self-taught artist this year is displaying new creations, using a unique method to create his wooden masterpieces for the first time since he began carving 10-years ago. “This style is completely new, it has never been done like this before,” he noted. He has also applied his skills to making handcrafted picture frames, using them to display the image of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and Muscat’s iconic Jelali and Merani forts.

Salha Subaid Al Mazroui from Wilayat Shinas was showcasing the North Al Batinah Governorate’s traditional engraving techniques for the first time. “When I first learned to engrave it was very difficult but with time my skills grew to reach this level.” Her stall includes a wide variety of engraved items, many bearing images of Oman’s historic and natural heritage. One in particular includes a stunning artistic depiction of the famous Nakhl fort while another, a key chain carved in the image of a turtle, pays tribute to the Sultanate’s abundant marine life.



Like other items in the Heritage Village, these art-forms have had a place in Oman’s society for generations, finding new expressions in the materials, techniques, and creative exuberance employed by the Sultanate’s modern craftsmen. With every enquiry and every purchase, a contribution is made to ensure the sustainability of these art forms. As streams of visitors, young and old, make pieces of Oman’s heritage their own, the future of these master craftsmen and women continues to look even brighter. —[email protected]



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