Oman Art: From Crete with love!

Sometimes events that looked dark and disastrous at the moment they happened take on a pleasant note all of a sudden and set you out on a course of events that open up new experiences to make your life more meaningful than before.

You wouldn’t have had the chance to enjoy the delights you stumbled upon but for that gloomy incident. The moment of bad luck could come in many ways, and in the case of a Greek artist who landed in Oman for a few days of sight-seeing it came in the form a car breakdown in a remote village.

Getting stuck in an unfamiliar place and being in the company of total strangers is a nightmare for any tourist. You lose precious time on your quick schedule, and there is an element of insecurity and helplessness that creep in to make you frustrated.

How such dark moments turn into life-defining experiences is one of the thrilling mysteries of life.

Greek artist Kostis Grivakis was on a visit to Wakan, a mountain village in South Batinah, when his car broke down. He was in Oman for a short visit, and the breakdown meant that he was going to miss a bit of things on his busy itinerary.

But the misfortune soon gave way to events that made him simply fall in love with Oman, its people and their culture, which now finds expression in the form of Omani figures painted on wooden pieces.

Everything started from that car breakdown. Little did he know that his distress would turn into bliss when a group of young Omanis lent him a helping hand.

“Local people helped me to get back to Muscat. I will never forget that,” he said.

Since then, the 46-year-old art teacher has fallen in love with the Sultanate and its people, and dedicated his work to promote Omani culture.

Grivakis said he was never inspired by a nation like he was when he visited Oman.

“In Oman, I felt at home and not as on holiday. The kindness of Omanis is the thing I like the most. How helpful they were to me,” he said.

He has visited Nizwa, Sur, Wadi Bani Kharus, Wadi Shab, Jabel Shams, Jabal Akhdar, the Dimaniyat islands and Misfat Al Abriyeen.

“For an artist it is the ultimate satisfaction to be inspired so much by something or someone. And for me inspiration came so naturally in Oman. You can tell that looking at my work,” Grivakis added.

Now, he is planning to move into Muscat and has already created a Facebook page to advertise his work: discarded wooden pieces that are painted and turned into Omani male and female figures.

The Greek national is also an avid environmentalist.

“I never buy materials. The only things I buy are the colours. I search for wood at construction sites. There are so much waste of wood there and I turn them into pieces of art,” he explained.

His Oman-inspired artworks are a hit with European buyers.

He said: “I have sent a lot of things to Oman and I’m getting orders every day. Every day, I get so many messages from people who want to join my classes.”

Grivakis said he was planning to hold an exhibition of Omani wooden figures in the Sultanate.

“It would be something people have never seen before,” he promised.

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