Samah is a graduate in Architecture, yet she has found herself fascinated with the world of fine arts and photography. Her work is highly influenced by the music she listens to and she attempts to create a blend within the traditional culture of Oman and her personal identity, which is influenced by pop culture, music and the urban lifestyle.
Here is 7th of the 35 Artists we featured in our Visual Guide. You can still purchase it in our online store.
Tell us a little about your self?
Samah Al Ansari, age 22. Born and raised in Oman, I’m an architecture graduate from the University of Kent in the UK. I am a traveler, explorer and learner.
When did you start Art and what inspires you to create?
I started drawing ever since I learnt how to hold a pen, my school textbooks have more doodles in them than actual class notes. Although my interest in fine arts grew after graduating from high school and moving to the UK. Visting art galleries became a thing for me, and with that I learnt so much about different artistic approaches and started doing more research on artists and their ways of creating art.
It’s hard to say what inspires me the most, I observe my surroundings and try to implement what I’ve seen into a painting or drawing. Whether it was a movie, a place I’ve visited or even a song.
I tend to translate the music I listen to into thoughts and feelings, and with that comes colours and textures in my paintings.
What are the themes you often explore in your work?
I like to experiment a lot when it comes to my art work, as I tend to switch between digital artwork and physical paintings. But I am mostly comfortable when it comes to using paint and a paintbrush. I wouldn’t say there’s a constant theme in my work, as I could go from landscape to portrait to Arabic calligraphy. But I try my best to keep them all within the same context of telling the story of my journey as an individual living in Oman and also different situations of my daily life and things that inspire me, in addition to telling the story of Oman to the world, as many people don’t know much about it.
Tell me more about the images you sent us.
In my submitted art work I attempt to create a blend within the traditional culture that I come from and my personal identity, which is highly influenced by pop culture, music and the urban lifestyle. I try to merge two conflicting ideas, the Arabic culture and pop art. The main idea behind my work is to express my identity through bright contrasting colours, urban indications yet still reminding the viewer of where I come from and my cultural surroundings through portrait images and paintings.
How do you find yourself as well as your generation coping with the influence of pop culture and urban lifestyle with the traditional identity in Oman?
Oman is a country that combines many cultures into one, as the history dates back to empires and settlements built in different parts of the world such as East Africa, Asia and India. There are many Omani’s with roots from these countries, and to this day practice these different traditions.
I myself, come from an East African background. Growing up in a community of African, Arabic and some Western influence made me the person I am today. The combination of all these different cultures, makes Oman accepting to all different lifestyles, and resulted in all these different identities mixed together.
This being said, I also believe that my generation and those who are younger have started to create our own culture here in Oman, highly influenced by the urban lifestyle and media. There’s a birth of a new identity that makes it easier not to get lost in the clash of the two cultures. Many young Omani’s have merged Western and Traditional cultures into one, resulting in a change of how we speak, dress etc. But I also believe that this is the case in many other Arabic countries that have been influenced with social media and urban culture.
I notice you also do architecture, and in these images we can see the white lines mimicking the lines of the mountains in an almost architectural style. Do you often use architecture as an influence or do you like to keep that separate from your artistic projects?
Studying architecture really influenced me in the way I produce my work, after getting used to using software’s like Photoshop for my university work, it was hard for me to go back to the traditional acrylic paint on canvas. I began producing digital artwork and editing photographs instead of drawing them by hand.
My artistic projects don’t always have an architectural perspective, but my architecture background makes me look at things from different points of view because I now tend to see things in a more geometric and linear form rather than just organic blends of colour.
The combination of Architecture and Art, resulted in a lot of experimentation and playing with composition. The pictures I submitted are a result of this combination.
Tell me about the art scene in Oman and what’s it like for emerging Artists?
I recently moved back to Oman, and I noticed that there were so many young emerging artists, there’s so much hidden talent here and I’m really glad that it’s starting to get noticed.
There’s a growing network of artists and creatives, one thing I love about it here is that everyone offers you a hand, and everyone wants to see the other grow. There’s been a recent increase in events and occasions where creative people can get together socialize, display their work, perform etc.
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Check out more of her work here: