During the Sharjah Art Foundation’s March Meeting 2016, ArteEast had the pleasure of an impromptu visit to the studio of Abdul Rahman Al Maa’ini’s studio on the Foundation premises. Born in Kassab, Oman, Abdul Rahman is a self-taught artist whose work is increasingly being shown in national and international venues.
Abdul Rahman’s process often begins with the drawing of motifs, symbols, and figures, which he then transfers to canvas. The resulting paintings are often very large, and visually imposing. Many of Abdul Rahman’s works are heavily influenced by myth, traditional geometric patterns, and nature motifs with a contemporary aesthetic. His geometric works are particularly hypnotic, and after a moment’s glance reveal fractures, assymetries, and embedded figurative elements that seem to extend infinitely beyond the boundaries of the canvas.
When asked about the greatest challenges to developing his practice, Abdul Rahman agreed that access and visibility are major issues for artists in the MENA region, particularly those with limited formal training or personal connections to the art world. Even as international interest in contemporary art of the region grows, language and educational barriers inevitably leave talented voices overlooked. Our visit with Abdul Rahman underscored the importance of ArteEast’s mission to provide a bridge for artists in the region to access the international opportunities and networks that will bring artists like him greater visibility.