Sunday, December 9: Tonight, Martina KIKO from Thessaloniki, Greece exhibits her Oman-inspired paintings at the Crowne Plaza in Muscat, in a show entitled “The Colours of Oman.”

Martina Kiko

Martina KIKO

Having lived in and explored Oman for the last 1 1/4 years, I am struck by the geometric motifs in the 32-year-old artist’s work that encapsulate Oman’s essence: mosques and minarets, white & sand-colored buildings with arched windows, camels, brown & green mountains and wadis, dhows, fish, the sea, date palms, and, of course, the relentless sun.  Most surprising are the white SUVs, ubiquitous throughout Oman, happily driving over dunes and mountains in her paintings.  She has captured Oman perfectly.

The title of her show “Colours of Oman,” sums up the inspiration she has absorbed and transformed into art.  She pulls her palette from Oman’s great outdoors: browns, greens, golds, tans, blues, terra cottas and corals. She enriches simple pottery purchased from Nizwa and Bahla souqs by painting jars, vases and bowls with bold geometric patterns in these rich, earthy colors.

Her paintings range in price from 30 rials to 250 rials ($78-$650), while her pottery goes for 25-40 rials ($65-$104).

Here are some images from the exhibit.  Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slide show.

Martina tells me she traveled from Greece in early 2012 to visit some friends in Oman. She was mesmerized by the country.  Later, she returned during Ramadan in mid-July, when she actually tried to fast from sunrise to sunset, as the Omanis do.  Though she admits her Western lack-of-self-control got in the way, she was still able to fast for 6 days straight, and then later in Ramadan for another two or three days here and there.

In a Times of Oman article dated December 9, 2012, Martina KIKO said: “I see Oman as a fascinating collage and a magical kaleidoscope that can lead an artistic mind to find inspiration. I see colours hidden everywhere, in the mountains, landscapes with proportion that a western mind cannot imagine, intriguing sounds, the beautiful Arabic language, rich fragrances, the traditional costumes, beautiful people with delightful traditions and immense hospitality all colourful, all inspirational. I see amazing architectural details covering the mosques, sophisticated sculpture techniques used on the traditional ships and a multicultural society.

“I am gathering all those images, decoding them into artworks with my first exhibition in Oman, to bring to you, ‘The Colours of Oman’.” (Times of Oman: ‘The Colours of Oman’ expo)

To see more of Martina KIKO’s varied and colorful artwork, visit her blog at Martina Kiko.