Muscat: Beginning this month, three artists from different corners of the globe will create their art as part of the Bait Al Zubair International Residency Programme.
For one month, they will explore their artistic practices, while creating, exchanging and showcasing a wide variety of art genres and styles.
The residency programme provides artists based outside the Sultanate of Oman with the opportunity to work on their artistic skills in Muscat.
The residencies allow visiting artists to develop projects in response to their new environment, or to conduct research using Bait Al Zubair’s resources.
The first artist to arrive, on January 12,was Julia Forrest, an American artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Forrest is a photographer who works only with a film camera.
She says that art has always been her top priority in life, and regardless of today’s digital world, she continues to work with old processing techniques.
These days, photography can easily be manipulated using photo manipulation software, but Julia prefers to take the camera, a tool for capturing reality, and experiment with what she can do in front of the lens with just one shot. Her goal is for her audience to not only enjoy learning about photography, but to view the world in an entirely new way and continue to develop their interest in the arts.
“Using a medium format film camera and no digital manipulation, I create an illusion within the lens. I am inspired by pictorialist photographers and how they create a purely photographic reality in their images. Early 20th century photographer Anne Brigman seamlessly met the human figure with a surreal landscape. Her figures have the same powerful presence that I strive to create in my photographs.
“Shooting in black and white, I make a historical reference to this period. I use infrared film to emphasize the grain and create a more surreal and distant reality. I challenge the notion of the landscape by referencing what makes a photograph: the women use their mirror to re-frame what I have framed and capture in their mirror, like a camera captures with a lens,” explained Forrest.
Bait Al Zubair will be working with Forrest to offer workshops and a presentation of her work.
Paul Doubleday, Director of Bait Al Zubair noted, ‘Early in the residency, visiting artists are asked to present their art in an informal evening of talks attended by artists, art professionals and the general public. Other activities, such as visits to art studios and special events at Bait Al Zubair, can also be organised to visit individual artists. These events encourage discussions of the work and serve as an introduction, with the potential for visiting artists to make useful contacts.”
He added, “All residencies culminate in an Open Studio where artists show the work created during their time in Oman. Open Studios run for three days and offer an opportunity for Omani audiences to view international work. Unlike exhibitions, Open Studios focus on process and feedback, as they often present works in progress and encourage interaction and dialogue between artists and the audience.”