Acclaimed artist Mohammed Nazeer’s paintings come alive in a kaleidoscope of hues, finds Aftab H. Kola.
Despite being a former accountant, Mohammed Nazeer is an artist who can’t be accused of painting by numbers.
His approach to finding inspiration is simple: anything, anyone or anywhere is up for grabs.
Nazeer is a name to be reckoned with in fine arts circles in Oman, and his paintings adorn the walls of ministry halls and corporate offices as well as private residences while also featuring in top exhibitions.
Nazeer uses every element of his background and imagination as the trigger to turn something into a piece of art, and has completed more than 3500 works on canvas so far.
A native of Udupi in Karnataka, India; Nazeer had a penchant for painting from an early age.
Coming to Oman in 1982 to work as an accountant for a pharmaceutical firm, Nazeer pursued his passion while maintaining his full-time job.
Buoyed by some of the compliments he received for his initial efforts, he decided to become a professional artist. Today, his acclaim proves how right his decision was.
Talking to Y, he says: “I just transfer my feelings onto the canvas. Many ministries in Oman and the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) have my paintings on their premises, which is obviously very nice for me.”
Nazeer’s works blend the quality of artistry with craftsmanship, and the end result is a stunning image on a canvas.
His paintings capture the real hero in his portraits of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said while other images take one to a world of Oman’s picturesque landscape and effervescent stretches of water, as exotic shades of vibrant colour pop out of his frames.
His canvases encompass robust colours and imagination, integrating as one, lending them a surreal feel.
He says: “I have created about 70 exclusive canvases of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said but what stands out among the portraits is the canvas of HM’s mother, which was especially ordered by the Diwan of Royal Court.”
Some of the sights and sounds of Oman’s village life, where the culture manifests itself in its rhythmic sound beat, have been beautifully captured in his work.
One of his paintings can depict fishermen pulling boats out of the sea, an Omani potter spinning the wheel loaded with twirling shapeless clay, a dhow bobbing on the water, a herd of graceful oryxes grazing at the Jiddat al-Harasis or the simple, graceful enigma of an Arabian horse.
Many of his subjects are part of Oman’s history and highlight traditional Omani costumes. All weave a magic spell on the onlookers lucky enough to view his work. These eye-catching paintings have clearly been crafted with immense care, concentration and patience.
What draws one in on entering Nazeer’s house-cum-studio in Wadi Al Kabir are the canvasses that he is working on, which are already a resplendent riot of colour.
Currently he is drawing interest from art collectors and galleries in the UAE.
Nazeer says: “These days I am working on a very big order from the royal family in Abu Dhabi. While many paintings have been already been delivered, some are still being worked upon.” He is also working on orders from South Korea.
An exhibition of his paintings titled ‘Vibrant Oman’ held under the aegis of Omani Society of Fine Arts in 2011 was well-received.
The Ruwaq gallery at Oman Establishment for Press Publication and Advertising, which hosted Nazeer’s paintings under the theme ‘Vibrant Touch of Oman’ in 2016 spotlighted on Oman’s stunning landscape.
In the same year, an exhibition of his paintings at City Season hotel in Al Khuwair was a resounding hit.
Reflecting his admiration for nature, a great amount of detailing is clearly visible on his palette. Oman’s wadis, mountains, waterfalls, old settlements and beaches are all treated with the meticulous approach he has with his brush.
With a strong visual language and with bold strokes, Nazeer is weaving a panorama of Oman’s nature, culture and heritage, and should be a cultural force in the Sultanate for many years to come.