By Hubert Vaz
People of Muscat have an opportunity to view interesting landscapes of the capital presented in mystifying water colour by French artist Danièle Ohnheiser in an exhibition at the National Museum of Oman.
The month-long exhibition – Daniele Ohnheiser: A Journey to Muscat – was inaugurated on November 25, has received wide attention as the tourist season in Oman has begun and scores of cruise tourists arriving at the Sultan Qaboos Port have been thronging the museum everyday.
Danièle, who practiSed as a landscape architect for several years before devoting herself entirely to painting, has illustrated more than 20 books and participated in many exhibitions around the world, winning several awards. Her style is characterised by a modern sensibility based on a precise drawing of reality, and refined colours that emphasise the delicateness of water colours.
Danièle told TheWeek on the eve of the inauguration that she has remained totally fascinated by the landscapes in Muscat – a blend of the old and new worlds, traditional dwellings alongside modern architecture – since she first visited Oman four years ago. She has since captured interesting images of the city and created works in water colour, with great attention to detail in some.
Her exclusive works are presented in a book on Muscat, the idea for which was born during her first stay in Oman. “Under the spell of spectacular landscapes and architecture, the desire to paint was very strong. Everything was new, and, at the same time, full of history,” says Danièle, adding that she equally enjoyed painting scenes of old Muscat as well as new structures like the Royal Opera House Muscat and the National Museum of Oman.
Danièle explains that she was more fond of water colour as against oil because it gives the artist more freedom, can be ready and done soon and doesn’t need time for drying in between shades.
“Unlike photos, water colour can highlight a view, a building, accentuating its presence while eliminating or minimising unwanted elements (cars, electrical wires).
“It is a real composition work. To select the paintings subjects, it was necessary to choose between the spectacular landscapes and buildings, but also the small details which account for daily life, the boats, the fishermen, the small hidden points of view, the decorative doors and mosaic motifs,”she said.
To breathe life into her artworks, Danièle researched many books by various authors who have described the extraordinary world they discovered during their journey to Muscat. It helped her understand the true nature of the city and evolving lifestyle.
“Muscat is a great city and the people here are very friendly and hospitable. It is this that makes the city stand out from other cities in the Arab world,” says Danièle, who had a very different view of this part of the world until she first visited Muscat and found out that it was a treasure trove for artists.
“Everything is beautiful in Muscat. And most of all, I feel very safe here,” says Danièle, who will be conducting a few workshops for art students in Oman over this month.
Her key message to budding artists is, “Let your creativity flow freely. Don’t try to create a masterpiece as soon as you set out. A lot of hard work goes before you establish yourself as an artist. And Muscat is full of inspiration, look at everything in your own creative way and express yourself in your individual style.”