Dr Hafsa Banu Abid, a professional dentist at Al Qurm, is a lot more than what her practice demands. She has an artistic approach to everything in life, including the intricate tasks of her profession, and has conjured up something artistically special for Oman’s 49th National Day.
An ex-student of Indian School Muscat, who has spent her entire life in Oman since she was a six-month old baby, Dr Hafsa creates unique artworks with nails and strings and is the only artist of her kind in Oman as well as the GCC region.
With scores of tiny nails mounted onto a wooden frame, Dr Hafsa creates magical images with coloured nylon threads by weaving them in varied patterns with dexterous movements of her fingers.
Last year, she presented a black and white portrait of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, to the Diwan of Royal Court, which acknowledged her effort with a reward. This year, too, she has created something special, which will be presented to the Diwan to mark the 49th National Day. She, however, wishes to keep the creation under wraps until itis presented.
Passionate about art since childhood, Dr Hafsa, who hails from Mangalore in India, says that she nurtured this talent all by herself, without any formal training, although ‘nail art’, as she calls it, has been practiced since the past six to seven across the world.
Though this traditional folk art largely focuses on geometrical and abstract designs, Dr Hafsa has brought in her own innovation by combining paintings with this method.
Most of her work over the past two years reflects not just the culture of Oman, but also its people, scenes within the landscapes and a few portraits, too.
Dr Hafsa says she stumbled upon her own flair for this art form by accident when helping her son do a similar school project. Ever since, she has been exploring and experimenting with different aspects of this art to teach herself.
“To me, Oman is home. I feel more at home here. And everything I do, whether my profession or my hobbies, is all for Oman,” says Dr Hafsa, adding that though her time for her profession as well as for her family and her hobbies are distinct, there is a lot of overlapping of her skills since even dentistry, just like art, demands an eye for aesthetics and perfection
Dr Hafsa hopes to some day pass on her talent to young budding artists by either conducting regular workshops or setting up a school for fine arts where she can devote time to teaching this art in a more formal setting.
She also hopes to prepare gigantic works for individuals or institutions who might commission murals or patterns.
As of now, she is focusing on taking ahead her own skills and hopes to discover more interesting aspects to this talent which might take her to newer heights. “Dentistry is my profession, but art is my soul. And I love both equally.”
As a message to budding artists, Dr Hafsa says, “Every person has some creative spark which one needs to identify and nurture at some point in life. Oman has much talent waiting to be discovered, you just need to follow your heart. Put your mind to it to let it develop.”