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Radhika Hamlai : A Coalesce of Art Heritage from India to Oman

Born and raised in Ahmedabad, the Manchester of India - the city thriving with a plethora of colours and textures; Radhika Hamlai had an inclination to art as a little girl. Though she never had any formal education in art, today she continues to the ambassador of art in Oman where she is supporting many beginner artists too.

She did her graduation in commerce from the HL College of Commerce in Ahmedabad along with afew short courses from Central Saint Martins, London. With a Curator’s training from Sotheby’s, she now puts together an annual art exhibition that shares platform with Omani and International artists. Before completing engrossing herself in the Art industry, she worked a 9 to 5 but soon realised it wasn’t her cup of tea.

Since the 2000s, Radhika has taken to art full-time. Starting with exhibitions at a smaller-scale in Ahmedabad and Muscat, she then moved on to the being a part of the Omani Society of Fine Arts and participating in major galleries in Delhi, India. Radhika has exhibited a Tapestry show at the National Museum of Oman. Her woks are also a part of collection at the Oman’s International Airport. Getting to represent the culture and heritage through her art practices on a public forum, was a moment to cherish, she quotes.

Radhika envisions to connect the cultures of India and Oman – one where she was born and spent her early years and the other where her art practice took major turns. Her efforts lie not only in absorbing the themes of two nations but also bringing artists of different nationalities under one umbrella.

Having said that she didn’t have any formal training in art, she enjoyed painting and exploring

different forms of art. During her growing up years, she was inspired by her grandfather who was into photography. Laying her hands of the various books and magazines of photography, she saw her aesthetic sense being nourished. Added to this was her father’s textile business. The rich colours and textures still have an influence on her and can be seen in her paintings even today. Today, she works on canvas while also traversing a multitude of art mediums like sculpture, clay and calligraphy.

Her artwork is characterised by colour textures with bold black strokes that capture the essence of human emotions. In her quest for finding her identity, she experimented with various forms, what started as an abstract body of work now also inculcates semi-figurative and semi-abstract as a core theme.

She recalls the time when her son was born and required a lot of her time and attention – this is

when she realised the courage, the responsibility of motherhood imbibed in her. Her continuous

travels and living on her own gave her the freedom to think and experiment, which further went on to become the different narratives of her art collection.

A noteworthy style is the use of black colour across all her works. Black maybe associated with

negativity but for Radhika it is the colour that transmutes energy, black is often used to ward off evil – so how could it be negative at all? – questions Radhika.

One of the major challenge she aced was during her initial days in Oman – when she sat in a

classroom she didn’t know the language the class was taught in. Adopting the culture and making herself one in a new country, took time but it all transitioned well. With a motto to ‘Never Give Up’ and keep learning always has helped her with drastic development and progress. For her, Art is the medium where she connects with herself and other individuals, questioning and answering the quest of identity and being.

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