Visual Narratives: Celebrating Intangible Omani Heritage in Ceramics at Educational Institutions

By Badar Mohammed Almamari.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: September 4, 2015 $US5.00

As Al-Busaidi and Al-Habsi (2011) mentioned in their study, “The Intangible Heritage and Heritage Tourism in the Sultanate of Oman,” many folktales in Oman are endangered and at risk of being lost forever. Without a suitable and successful means of preserving them, Oman faces the loss of significant aspects of its culture. This paper proposes an effective solution for “saving” folktales (but also celebrating them) and other aspects of intangible heritage. It derives from visual narratives, particularly naïve art, by suggesting ceramics as a specific medium. Ceramicists can observe visual narratives with different perspectives better than normal painters. Ceramics educational institutions in Oman can therefore be instrumental in preserving, and indeed celebrating, such local, intangible heritage in a new, creative approach to tackling the abovementioned problem. For the work to demonstrate this, intensive studio-practice works were completed by participating ceramics students within an educational institution in Oman. Despite such benefits from this art form, no narrative paintings in a naïve style with Middle-Eastern characteristics have been noted in the local arts movement, which is perhaps linked to the problem explored herein. Therefore, this work has encouraged participating students to take advantage of the characteristics of naïve art so that they can convert local people’s narratives from commonly found textual forms into a visual, intangible, material culture. These Omani ceramics students have explored the effectiveness of naïve art in capturing and expressing local people’s narratives visually to preserve and celebrate local, intangible heritage in Oman.

Keywords: Naive Art, Ceramics, Art Education, Oman

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 10, Issue 3, September, 2015, pp.25-33. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: September 4, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 626.555KB)).

Dr. Badar Mohammed Almamari

Assistant Professor, Department of Art Education, Sultan Qaboos University, Alseeb, Muscat, Oman