‘Italian Emotions in Oman’ on display at Bait al Zubair

Italian artist, Pietro Palummieri, presents a unique collection of paintings and sculptures created by him during a seven-month sojourn in Oman during the pandemic

Fishermen mending their nets by the seaside, women in traditional attire moving around the village, old stone dwellings, ancient trees, boughs of pomegranates… the exhibits take you well into a distant past of Oman that still has traces left behind in the interior. Wander off the cities and Oman is continues to be an artist’s delight.

An exhibition of water colour sketches and terracotta sculptures by Italian artist Pietro Palummieri, currently on at Bait Al Zubair, reflects a different side of Oman that exists parallel to its modernised cities. Scenes depicted by the artist were created when he was grounded in the sultanate for seven months during the pandemic. Making the most of the opportunity, Palu, as he is fondly known, converted his experiences into artistic expression to document his forced stay in Oman.

Held in partnership with the Embassy of Italy, the exhibition titled ‘Italian Emotions in Oman’ showcases the unique skill of this artist who hails from Southern Italy, from the city of Puglia, who has participated in art exhibitions worldwide.
Palu states, “I have visited many wilayats and villages in Oman, especially those in the interior region, and was very moved by the building and historic buildings in them. I come from the city of Puglia, in South of Italy, which is a touristic city holding a lot of historic and heritage buildings, I felt the sentiment of being as if in Italy whilst visiting many local Omani cities such as Izki, Hamra and Manah, along with the Wilayat of Ibra and many more.”

The 55 paintings on display include natural landscapes and old dwellings, besides depictions of ancient trees, beaches, and seascapes, indicating the pace of life and the populace in the interior of Oman The twelve sculptures include six figurines of traditional people in Oman besides artistic expressions indicating the essence of both cultures of Oman and Italy.

Pietro is a sculptor and painter of Apulian origin in Italy. He lives in Maruggio, in the province of Taranto, where he captures his primary inspiration from the local territory to create his art pieces. Some of these are created with water colours, oil, and red lead pencil. For his sculptures the Italian artist utilises a special type of concrete using terracotta as a starting point.

In his message to visitors, Palu says, “This artistic burst, born during my long and compulsory stay in Oman due to COVID-19 restrictions, proved to be an opportunity to tie that solid relationship between the people of two nations – Oman and Italy. In fact, culture unites because it speaks one common language – beauty.”

Explaining his fascination for what he experienced in Oman, the Italian artist further said, “I felt fascinated and stimulated in wanting to depict, just like writing a diary, the essential elements that characterise the environment as well as the human context of the place.”

The exhibition is on till September 29.

(Text by Hubert Vaz, photos by Syed Fasiuddin)

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