Oman to present first national pavilion at next year's Venice Biennale

Five artists will show at the inaugural exhibition, including the late Raiya Al Rawahi

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The late Raiya Al Rawahi will have her final works shown in the inaugural exhibition at the Omani pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. 

Image courtesy of the National Pavilion of the Sultanate of Oman

The late Raiya Al Rawahi will have her final works shown in the inaugural exhibition at the Omani pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale.

Image courtesy of the National Pavilion of the Sultanate of Oman

The Sultanate of Oman will debut its national pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, which is due to take place from 23 April to 27 November 2022.

The inaugural, multimedia exhibition will feature the work of five artists: the painter Anwar Sonya, often described as the "godfather" of the nation's contemporary art scene; Hassan Meer, the founder of the experimental Omani artist group The Circle; the photographer and video installation artist Budoor Al Riyami; and Radhika Khimji, whose feminist work features sculpture and textiles. In addition, the final works of the late sound installation artist Raiya Al Rawahi, who died in 2017 from cancer aged just 30, will also be shown.

The show will be curated by Aisha Stoby, an art historian who focuses on Modern art from Oman and the Middle East.

The pavilion, located in Venice's Arsenale, is funded by the nation's ministry of culture and is organised under the aegis of its head, the Crown Prince of Oman Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said.

To coincide with the Venice exhibition, the ministry will also organise a series of cultural programmes in Oman, focusing on mentorship, internships and a lecture series, to boost youth engagement in the country's creative sector and kickstart its contemporary art scene.

Oman is the first country to debut a national pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale since Ghana in 2019.

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