Muscat: The opening ceremony of the second international conference of the Omani Visual Art Research Group (OVARG) organised in association with the Cultural Club was held on Monday at the Cultural Centre of the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) under the patronage of Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bemani, the vice chancellor of SQU.
The conference is part of a joint initiative by OVARG in the Arts Education Department at SQU and the Cultural Club, as is part of strengthening cultural, artistic and academic ties. The theme of the conference is “Visual Arts and Culture.”
In his welcome address at the opening ceremony, Dr. Wissem Abdelmoula, chair of the conference’s organising committee, said that since ancient times, culture has been for the artist, both a medium, a pool, a space, a reference, and even at times his most important inspiration.
“As a subject of artistic and scientific thinking, culture was also an aesthetic reference, which, over the ages, allowed the artist to position himself and his work. We thought it was necessary to initiate a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary reflection that engages artists, theorists and art critics, sociologists, philosophers, historians, even archaeologists to study this great question of visual arts and culture and attempt to bring about its modest contribution to the understanding of a problem, which has become particularly acute,” he said.
In her address, Dr. Fakhriya Khalfan Al Yahyai, head of the Department of Art Education at SQU and head of OVARG, said the group had continued supervising and documenting to serve the arts, and activated communication with researchers and artists in the current art issues in order to go deeper into matters of human creativity.
“After the success of the first international conference ‘Contemporary Crossroad’ held in March 2015, which sought to search the problems in the theory of contemporary Omani art practice and its future aspirations in particular. We proceed with perseverance and go deeper in the practical and theoretical research of the visual arts during this second international conference entitled, "The visual arts and culture," and we meet several parties related to the visual arts and those associated with its cultural aspects,” she said.
Al Yahyai further said the conference “Visual Arts and Culture" had gotten a favourable response from researchers and artists from different countries, and this was due to the importance of the relationship between the visual arts and culture fields on the one hand, and the need for creative methods within of the rapid changes on the other side.
The four-day conference features 75 research paper presentations dealing with all contemporary art issues presented by researchers from more than 20 countries. The event is expected to offer participants with the opportunity to exchange views about art in general, and contemporary artistic practices and cultural challenges in particular. It is a forum for discussing artists’ individual profiles and diverse practices: painters, engravers, designers, and photographers.