MUSCAT – The National Museum represented by the learning Centre, in collaboration with the French Embassy in the Sultanate of Oman, hosted a discussion panel today, titled “Oman in Photography: A Scenographic experience through the Lens of Omani and French Photographers”.
The conference was attended by Veronique Aulagnon, Ambassador of the French Republic to the Sultanate of Oman. It was also attended by photography enthusiasts, members of photography societies, students, teachers, professional and amateur photographers, as well as reputed and emerging visual artists.
Dr Abdulmonem Mansour Al Hassani, Founder of the Photo Society of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), highlighted the stages that photography underwent in Oman from 1970 until today.
Al Hassani reviewed the early features of photography in Oman during the 60s and 70s and the emergence of some individual Omani photographers.
He also touched on the institutional beginning of photography in 1988 by establishing a mini-group for photography in the Cultural Club. Through this group, photo exhibitions were held and despite their scarceness those gatherings exhibited a fascination with a silent nature, people’s lives and Omani architecture.
Dr. Abdulmonam Al Hassani pointed out that in an organized manner the photography group at SQU was established during 1990, followed by the Omani Society for Fine Arts in 1993 and the Photography Society in 2012.
Al Hassani highlighted the emergence of student institutions and the Stal Gallery team, in addition to some independent photographers who studied the art of photography and presented their experiences in their own unique way, away from institutional frameworks.
On her turn, Dr Genevieve Galliano, Chief Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, touched on the history, activities and departments of the Museum of Fine Arts in Lyon, and explained the reasons of the Museum’s invitation to Ferrante Ferranti and the artistic purpose of this collaboration.
In preparation for the second phase of this collaboration, the French Embassy invited the French photographer Ferranti to photograph landscapes and archaeological sites in the Sultanate of Oman. Moreover, Ferranti showcased his work in taking photos of archeological sites. He also shared his thoughts on capturing the essence of Oman in an artistic and professional manner.
Further, Omani photographer, Reem Al Sheikh, a specialist in abstract fine arts, shared the successive steps of her journey, the drive behind her work that led her to become the photographer she is today, and the reflection of her life on photography and the art of abstraction.
On their turn, photographers Mahmoud Al Zadjali and Israa Al Balushi of Stal Gallery in Muscat talked about their experience in being among young photographers in the Sultanate of Oman. They also pinpointed the mission of professional photographers in Oman and their role to represent the country in international events. They explained how photography encourages communication between generations and regions. They also underscored the role of photography in strengthening cultural and artistic connections.
A mini-exhibition was held on the sidelines of the event to showcase some of Oman’s picturesque natural scenery and various archeological sites.
The conference offered a global panoramic view on the art of photography as it is practiced nowadays and described the experience of French and Omani photographers in capturing the heritage, landscapes and archeological sites of Oman.
The event also contributed to building bridges between Omani and French photographers. Moreover, during the conference, the scenography links between various forms of art were displayed. The conference was held within the framework of cooperation between the National Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon.