Oman's Best Galleries and Museums

Jake Setterfield

The oldest independent state in the Arabian peninsula, throughout history Oman has been known for its frankincense, dates, coffee, and wonderful architecture. More recently however, Oman’s art scene has blossomed, bringing world-class galleries showcasing home-grown talent as well as artists of international acclaim to the sultanate. Oman is an oasis for Middle Eastern art; whilst neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the UAE construct skyscrapers, Oman remains firmly attached to its vivid culture and heritage.

Al Sahel Fort

1. Al Madina Art Gallery

Art Gallery, Shop

Julliette Thomson - Yellow Indian Boat
Image Courtesy of Al Madina Art Gallery

Al Madina Art Gallery

Based in the Muscat suburb of Madinat Qaboos, the Al Madina Art Gallery first opened its doors in 2004. Since then it has excelled in exhibiting Omani and expatriate amateur artists, as well as more established painters and photographers. The gallery includes workshops and field trips for all ages; reconnecting Oman’s growing and diversifying population with it’s vibrant and historic culture. The gallery also has an impressive gift shop full of intricate Omani artefacts, many of which are made in the gallery’s workshop. Al Madina holds exhibitions for local and international visual artists in the region like French-born Juliette Thomson’s, whose work resonates with her surroundings in Oman.
Al Madina Art Gallery, 187 Inshirah Street, Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Muscat, Oman, +968 246 91 380

Julliette Thomson - Yellow Indian Boat | Image Courtesy of Al Madina Art GalleryJulliette Thomson – Yellow Indian Boat | Image Courtesy of Al Madina Art Gallery

2. Bait Muzna Gallery

Bait Muzna Gallery

Bait Muzna Gallery exhibits multimedia artworks from a range of local and international artists. Founded by Sayyida Susan Al Said in 2000; it is situated in the one of the oldest parts of Muscat, juxtaposing the old Oman with cutting-edge, contemporary art. Its objective is to place Omani art on an international stage. Bait Muzna gives emerging and established Omani artists the scope to exhibit and develop their discipline within the gallery. The gallery sits at the crossroads to Omani culture; looking forward to the future with contemporary art installations, but without disassociating itself from its strong artistic and cultural heritage. One interesting artist to keep an eye on is British born Alan Reed who captures the essence of the Gulf, painting Omani landscapes and cultural architecture.
Bait Muzna Gallery, 234 Saidiya Street, Muscat, Oman, +968 24739 204

Jebel Akhdar | Image Courtesy of Alan ReedJebel Akhdar | Image Courtesy of Alan Reed

3. Gallery Sarah

Art Gallery, Museum

Gallery Sarah

Part of the Bait Al Zubair Museum, Gallery Sarah is a contemporary art gallery in the heart of Muscat. Created in memory of the Bait Al Zubair museum’s art advisor, Sarah White, the gallery opened its doors in 2013. In a bid to carry on Sarah’s life work of contributing to the progression of Omani art, the gallery is a pioneering project exhibiting contemporary art whilst supporting up and coming local and international artists. The gallery will also play host to a marketplace which will enable artists and photographers to showcase and sell their own work. Collaborating with visual artists, the gallery also invites them to exhibit their work online, as well as in the gallery. Of particular interest, the gallery is hosting an exhibition for Ramadan, featuring works by Radhika Hamlai, an Omani artist working between Oman and London. The series, The Arabic Letter Series, features mono-prints on Japanese handmade paper.
Gallery Sarah, 180/4 Al Sadiya Street, Muscat, Oman +968- 22084747

The Arabic Letter Series | Image Courtesy of Radhika Hamlai The Arabic Letter Series | Image Courtesy of Radhika Hamlai

4. MuscArt Gallery

MuscArt Gallery

One of the newest art galleries in Oman’s burgeoning art scene, MuscArt Gallery, opened its doors in 2012. The gallery, in the heart of Muscat, has quickly established itself at the forefront of Oman’s visual arts community. It exhibits local and international artists, as well as running regular educational workshops and seminars for aspiring Omani artists.The gallery hosts painting and photographic workshops from digital photography, to ancient Arabic calligraphy. Combined with an exhibition space and a state of the art photography studio, MuscArt has developed itself as a hub for artists across the country. One of MuscArt’s artists in-situ, Diane Kazakis, paints extremely vivid depictions of Omani nature and architecture. Originally from Australia, Diane’s background in sculpting and environmental issues has created an excellent collection of artworks.
MuscArt Gallery, Ghubra Plaza, 3rd floor, 18th November St., Muscat, Oman, +968 244 93912

5. Stal Gallery

Stal Gallery

Whilst the previous Omani galleries mentioned are increasingly international in their outlook, Stal Gallery focuses on Muscat’s residents and local artists. Set up by the non-for-profit Alserkal group in September 2013, the gallery serves as a shining beacon for the artistic community of Oman. The space serves as a hub for visual art lovers and artists; with exhibitions of refreshing mixed media; from photography to lithography. One artist currently exhibiting at Stal, Alia Alfarsi, has gained recognition from her series of striking portraits of women. The artworks are created using a collage of textures, from real fabrics to create the woman’s clothing from torn pieces of writing as if to capture the woman’s conversation.
Villa 221, Al Inshirah Street, Muscat, Oman +968 246 00396

Alia Alfarsi | Image Courtesy of Stal GalleryAlia Alfarsi | Image Courtesy of Stal Gallery

6. Fatma's Gallery

Fatma’s Gallery

This gallery, small in stature, but not lacking in ambition, aims to provide affordable artworks for Omani locals and to exhibit artworks of amateur and more experienced artists. Opened by Fatma al Ardhi in 2012, the gallery has developed itself into a community project of making artwork accessible, and the art industry accessible, to all. The exhibitions include a number of mediums; calligraphy, photography, digital art, and oil on canvas. One artist on exhibition, Dr. Hanan Al Shihi, uses mixed media on canvas to create interesting pieces. Interweaving golden patterns into the bold lines of the lady’s clothing has created an interesting juxtaposition between contemporary Omani art, with more traditional Middle Eastern patterns.
Fatma Gallery, Al-Araimi Complex, Last floor, Muscat, Oman +968 24 566130

Dr. Hanan Al Shihi | Image Courtesy of Fatma's GalleryDr. Hanan Al Shihi | Image Courtesy of Fatma’s Gallery

7. Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art


Matt Isirvio
Image Courtesy of Ghalya's Museum of Modern Art 
Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art is an interesting visit for anyone with a taste for Omani culture and heritage. The museum, opened in January 2011, is typical of a mid 20th century Omani house and its decor and modern artwork is concurrent with the period. The museum combines subtle nuances of recent Omani heritage across three decades; where the visitor can see the development of Oman into what it is today. Contrasted to the museum exhibitions, the site also plays host to a contemporary art gallery which aims to showcase local and international art to the local residents.

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