For Hassan Meer art has always been more than just canvas, paint, and brush. It’s more about exploring the artistic freedom, relentless perseverance, and love for this medium of expression. It is also a way to connect with art and artists of the world.
“I always wanted to make an established space to host art events but not just the ones restricted to art with paint and brush. I wanted to bring contemporary art space and put all the creative people together. That was when Stal Gallery was born,” said artist Hassan Meer who is known for taking his creative streaks beyond brushstrokes. After being part of many special workshops and international art exhibitions Hassan Meer decided to dedicate his time to develop the young emerging art of Oman.
“I realised that there are many talented people in Oman but unfortunately most had this notion that art is only done on a canvas with paint. Now the whole concept of art has changed and it’s not limited to only brush and paint. Art is all about expression, whichever medium you choose,” said the artist.
About the recently held Young Emerging Artist Prize Hassan said that the main intention of the event is to hunt new talent and encourage those artists whose work isn’t restricted to sketches and paintings. From digital painting and sculpting to mixed media and audio visual installations, the exhibits incorporate art in various forms. “Today’s Omani youth are endowed with immense talent and idea and this kind of recognition gives them a platform to showcase their work,” he said.
The main focus is on artists under 35 and preferably the ones who are new in this field or are fresh graduates in music, sound, fashion, and more. “Our aim is to exhibit any thought or idea and it could be any medium,” he added. After doing several experimental jobs in the field of art during his early days Hassan graduated from the university in 2001 where he learnt different techniques of art. “When I came to Oman there was nothing in terms of contemporary art. I did workshops and exhibitions. Over the years I got lot of international offers too,” he said.
Highlighting the need to widen the spectrum of art Hassan Meer says that canvas painting is limited in two dimensional space but art is also about visual art, video-graphy, conceptual photography, sound, light, virtual reality, and more. “Artists these days are more into expression and all are judged on the same platform,” he added.
Talking about the current trend in art Hassan said that as he travels extensively he is aware of the global changes. “What we are doing now is what is in trends. This form of art has given so many possibilities to an artist and not just to those who can draw and paint,” he said. “I was part of an important exhibition in Japan that was called Arab Express, which had the best art from the Arab world. There were neither any painting nor were they interested in seeing landscapes. Such paintings are just a reality portrayed in two dimensional spaces but isn’t an expression,” said Hassan.
Highlighting the challenges that artists face in Oman, Hassan Meer says that Oman never lacked in terms of talent but a proper platform was needed to showcase their work which fortunately is happening now. And where Oman’s recognition in the global art scene is concerned Hassan feels that though Oman is yet to be the frontline, he is hopeful for that in the years to come.
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