It has been a tough task for Y’s Portrait By A Nation judges to whittle down 1,500 entries to just 46 finalists, but the results are now in. Here, we give you the finalists in our exciting art event that celebrates Oman’s National Day
It’s a Sunday evening and the sun is beginning to set on the beach at Seeb, transforming the tranquil blue waters into a stunning palette of golden hues. Families and friends are relaxing and walking along the Corniche, little knowing that a top secret meeting is taking place at the nearby A’Soud Global School (AGS), where a group of people have gathered to judge Y’s annual Portrait By A Nation competition.
The task is daunting: 1,500 entries and just 46 finalists, of which there can only be nine winners as well as picking the winner of a one-year art scholarship in the five-to-nine year category, thanks to our associate sponsor AGS.
Also at stake is a lot of money. First prizewinners will take home a cash prize of RO500, while the first runners-up collect RO250 and the second runners-up, RO100.
Y Magazine’s managing editor, Felicity Glover is there, as is AGS Head Teacher Andrew Hurst, well-known artist Ibrahim Gailani, prominent Omani artist Shaker Jalal (known as the “Da Vinci of Oman”) and Leon Rafael Salinel, Omran’s corporate director of sales and marketing. Omran is one of the sponsors of the competition via its Atana Musandam and Atana Khasab resorts. Marios Stylianedes, from IDdesign; and Veenu Sreedharan, from Burjeel Hospital are also sponsors of the competition, and make up the group.
Three rooms are filled with entries – the first room is for the five-to-nine age group, the second room is packed with paintings by the 10-to-13 age group, while the third room is for the oldest category, the 14-to-17 year group.
“To begin with, it is quite overwhelming for the judges, especially if this is their first time,” says Felicity.
“But once they get into the swing of it and start understanding what to look for, it becomes much easier and the judging moves along quite quickly.
“But I have to say this year has been very hard. There are some exceptionally impressive portraits in this year’s Portrait By A Nation so we did find it more difficult to agree on the winners. However, we use a points system so there’s no arguing with that!”
Y Magazine has received 300 more entrants this year compared with the 2015 edition while the event has also been held in Salalah, where 200 contestants competed, as well as in Nizwa and Sohar.
Held as part of the Sultanate’s celebrations to mark National Day, Portrait By A Nation enables children to create lasting tributes to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said.
Presented by Al Mouj Muscat, powered by Shell Oman Marketing, and with associate sponsors A’Soud Global School, Atana Khasab, Atana Musandam, Burjeel Hospital, and IDdesign, as well as our venue partners Crowne Plaza Salalah and the Grand Hyatt Muscat Hotel, this year’s Portrait By A Nation has been the most successful so far.
And now in its third year, the event is a firm favourite on the nation’s National Day calendar, with parents and even children contacting Y Magazine weeks before the competition is
ready to begin.
“This is the first time my son has participated in a national level event and we are very happy to be a part of it. Y Magazine has given an opportunity for youngsters in the country to show their love for the country as well as His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said,” says Hossam al Said Abdul Aziz, the father of seven-year-old Osama Abdul Aziz, who was competing in this year’s event.
“When these children go outside the country and back to Egypt, they will share their experiences at the event with their family members there and that will give the people outside an idea about the country, too,” he adds.
Meanwhile, another parent, Ziad Rahman, says this is the second year his four children have entered Portrait By A Nation.
“None of them received a prize last year. But all of them loved the event and the atmosphere so much that they actually enrolled and did all the registration process themselves,” he says.
“I think the Portrait By A Nation really helps children unleash their true artistry on canvas. There are a lot of children who are not given the opportunity in school and need some other place to express their true talents. And for those children, the PBAN event really helps lay the groundwork for the future.” But back to the secret meeting of the judges.
After a few hours of judging, there’s a sense of relief as the group chooses its final winners, as well as admiration and praise for all of the children who have entered.
“It’s been a wonderful experience as it is the first time for us,” says Veenu Sreedharan, from Burjeel Hospital. “The judging went very well.”
Leon Rafael Salinel, who is representing Omran and was also a first-time judge, agrees. “I loved it,” he says. “The whole experience was very new… but the outpouring of love from the children was very evident.”
Shaker Jalal is also judging Portrait By A Nation for the first time and is surprised by the quality of work, saying that at first, that he thought the children had received help from their parents.
However, he was assured that Portrait By A Nation is a live event and is closely monitored by Team Y and other assistants to prevent parents from helping their children to give them an unfair advantage.
“I thought it would be easy as they are kids, but their art looks like it is not by kids,” he says.
In the meantime, the winners will be revealed at a glittering ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel on November 28. Who will they be? The judges are sworn to secrecy but we can tell you that they are looking forward to meeting these creative stars of tomorrow.
Meet the Finalists:
5- 9 Years
ALINA MUSKAN SHAFEEQ
FATHIMA TAMANNA JASFAN
GAUTHAM SIDHARTH. V
KEVIN JOSHY THOMAS
PARIN JAYESH TANNA
RYAN SETH GLADSON
FOUAD ZENIN NOWSHAD
MANYA SUNIL TALATI
RASHA JAIN T.S
SUCHI SMITA SINGH