May 31, 2012

End of May Musings...

I am *sure* we Oman denizens say it every single year but honestly speaking, this summer could not have been any hotter. Even after so many years of living here, the ferocious heat that one experiences during a May noon is still akin to dealing with a physical blow to your self and body! I happen to work in a place very near to the sea and the maritime breeze somewhat tempers the heat...but nevertheless, even walking on the beach in late afternoon is a penance. Suffice to say, we have no choice but to become nocturnal creatures, anticipating the sun's disappearance and the stars dappling the sky.

The heat's energy-sapping quality has also meant that I have been a little lax with my blogging this month and that is something I wasn't too happy about! Blogging is something that gives me a great deal of pleasure and I feel somewhat remiss when I fall behind. I don't foresee June being any cooler although it does promise to be rather busy; nevertheless, come July and I hope to introduce some changes and shake up things a bit over here...all things that I had declared back in January and did not get around to achieving so far;)

Well, my ramblings aside, here is a round-up of what I was up to during May:

I attended....

Pecha Kucha Muscat, Pecha-Kucha derived from the Japanese word for 'chit-chat', held its first event this month; the concept began in 2003 in Tokyo and afforded an opportunity for young artists and designers to showcase their work and connect with other like-minded people. Pecha Kucha nights consist of artists displaying their work through the medium of 20 images in the allotted time of exactly 20 minutes; in keeping with the '20' theme, the event charmingly began on dot at 20.20pm.

Pecha Kucha has been held in over 500 cities across the world and Muscat happened to be amongst the most recent cities to become part of the Pecha Kucha family. There were six artists present and we got the opportunity to see amongst many fascinating images a cool graphic designers' portfolio, a film-maker's storyboard, innovative installation art-works, and how an artist's works evolved over the years. I am always inclined towards listening to artists talk about and taking us through their work and for me, being in knowledge of their  back-stories/creative processes further enhances my relationship with their work.

I was inspired by...

TEDx events are independent off-shoots of the non-profit dedicated to sharing of innovative ideas, TED and I was fortunate enough to attend Muscat's second edition, having missed the first one last year. What I really liked about the event was its sheer energy and how it demonstrated that a single idea can manifest itself into something big and wonderful and grand - when it is pursued from ideation stage to fruition. It all depends on how much you are willing to nurture and aspiring to see the idea come to life.

TED talks are about stories and one of the stories at the event that I most enjoyed listening to was that of Resul Pookutty, the Oscar-award winning sound-mixer. He talked about the significance of sound in cinema and showed a scene from Slumdog Millionaire in which he explained as to what a challenge it was for him to recreate Mumbai's soundscape.

I stumbled upon....

Lebanese photographer, Rania Matar photographed 300 American and Lebanese teenage girls in their most intimate space: the bedroom for her monograph, A Girl and Her Room. I discovered her work via Corinne Martin, an artist whom I wrote about last year and whose blog has been a gold-mine of fantastic artists and events occurring in the region.

What I like about these pictures is how and the extent to which they minutely detail the girls' personalities by identifying these rooms as their personal shrines. The act of decorating their room becomes a ritual, the worship manifesting itself as the decorations, adornments, and the bedrooms' overall visual appearance. I particularly related to this photograph, especially the skyline of cosmetics that populates the dressing table. Growing up, preferring minimalism in my most immediate space (and still do!), I nevertheless allowed my dressing table to be a little more maximalist: it was a city of miniature boxes, odds and ends that I had collected (a painted earthenware pot gifted by a South African school-friend, a small Venetian mask,  and a Japanese doll), post-cards, my paintings and sketches, and piles of jewelry. I wish I had thought to photograph my dressing table  then because it so vividly and more importantly, visually reflected my personality in a way that not even a diary written at the time could do.  

I ate...

I am a self-confessed non-foodie although I do have a sweet tooth/teeth:) However, I am also partial to butter and bakery and I found an amazingly delicious intersection of them all at Papparotti, which has recently opened in Oman. Their signature Papparotti bun is a caramel-glazed delight that yields melting butter and chewy, soft bread upon slicing into it. This is the exactly sort of breakfast that I could have for days in a row!

How did the month of May treat you?

Images courtesy: isultana and Corinne Martin

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