Dr Asyah’s Speech
Your Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said,
I am proud to stand here today to witness the grand inauguration of ‘Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art’, which has come into being thanks to the vision, perseverance and determination of Her Highness Sayyida (Dr) Ghalya bint Fahr bin Taimour Al Said. It is such an honour for me to take part in this great event, especially as it coincides with the celebrations of the 40 years of our Blessed Renaissance, led by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, which we stand before, is a true and vivid reflection of what has been achieved since the dawn of our Blessed Renaissance. It is an applied example of the development of the Omani intellect, from simplicity to sophistication – an intellect that realises the value of our old life with all its nuances and details. Our past must not be rejected, but rather embraced and cherished, believing in the old proverb, “ He Who has no past, doesn’t have a present, and shall not have a future”.
Although, I have never had the honour of meeting Sayyida Ghalya in person, I was well aware of her through her creative writings, precisely her three novels: Days in Heaven, Sabra and Aseela, and Scattered Years.
Based on the Arabic saying, “Read my writings, and you will know me”, I can truly say that through her works, one can see the philosophy she adopts in her life. It is a philosophy represented in her deep vision of the human personality. Therefore, it is no wonder that she would think of this Museum – embracing the same philosophy – as it is not limited to the mere exhibition of old artifacts from the life of Omanis between the early 1950s and the early 1970s, but goes beyond that to represent the cause and effect relationship between Omanis and these artifacts. The museum focuses on two issues: what has surrounded the Omani people, and what has lived within them.
Furthermore, the existence of this museum per se reflects the gradual development in the Omanis’ intellect through the years of the Renaissance. Having been limited to the acquisition of tools and objects, this intellect has now moved to a new level; and the artifacts exhibited within the museum, illustrate this evolution. This underlines the importance of private museums and their role in human culture and civilization. And it is because of this role, that the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has acknowledged the museum as an official institution and allowed for its establishment.
Future plans of the museum include a museum of modern clothing, which will help bridge Omani traditional attire with the world trends of fashion, as well as an exhibition hall to promote the creativity of Omani artists in various fields.
Brevity is the soul of any speech. And thus, I shall end my words here with a salute of appreciation to the great efforts put into the establishment of this museum, which I have observed closely; starting with the Curator of the museum Mr Murtadha Al Lawati to the staff and all the construction workers, both Omanis and expats.
May Allah guide us always to build, evolve and prosper!
Dr Asyah Al- Bualy, Advisor for Culture and Humanities, The Research Council.