Muscat: Despite the rest of her family’s involvement in diplomatic affairs, Aisha Stoby, a young Omani woman who has years of experience in art history and curating was determined to follow her own path.
Today she is proudly pursuing her PhD studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SAOS), University of London, the same university where she did her Bachelors degree specialising in Middle Eastern art from.
Apart from serving at the Bait Muzna gallery and curating an exhibition at the Omani Society for Fine Arts, Stoby has been associated with several other campaigns in Oman which help promote arts in the country.
“In 2010, I was the creative director of the first youth campaign of Omani women, under which I started an art foundation, which was specifically for women from the interiors of Oman who did not have access to art education.”
Help and support
The idea was to help and support Omani women who were talented but lacked resources, “We brought them to Muscat and gave them art classes and an exhibition was organised by the end of it.”
Apart from this, she also served as an Omani art historian for a TATE exhibition titled ‘Nature of Seeing’, that was held here in Oman under the ministry of culture and heritage.
Aisha’s journey, although eventful and challenging has been a smooth one, only because of her parents encouragement. “My parents are my biggest support and inspiration, there are times of uncertainties in the arts field where not as many people show up to see your exhibition or when there is a lack of awareness about it, but my parents have helped me push through all those limits and become what I am today.”
When growing up, Stoby was very interested in the arts field, but after sometime she realised she was more interested in pushing the arts forward than actually creating them herself.
“As soon as I heard what the word curator meant, I knew that was what I wanted to do. So I did my BA in the history of art and during that time I was constantly coming back and forth to Oman, I was working on an exhibition here at the Bait Muzna gallery and curated another one at the fine arts society.”
Stoby, who pursued her Masters degree from the Royal College of Art in London, has been part of exciting projects all over the world and more recently she was also involved with planning team of the National Musuem in Oman.
For the last few years, Stoby has dedicated her life to promoting Omani arts in the region and beyond. “I am a firm believer that without culture we have no society, and I have seen with my eyes how progressive art is in Oman. It’s been such a privilege to be able to go abroad and show people, even within the gulf who don’t know about Oman as they probably should, that we are doing such incredible things in our country.”