by Ayesha Shaikh
  • 3 minute read
  • June 30, 2019
Do You Know The Greek Artist Making Oman-Inspired Art? Meet Him Here

The world of Greek artist Konstantinos ‘Kostis’ Grivakis is marked by an untameable imagination—one that is leavened by whimsy, audacity and a love of Omani culture so deep that it animates all areas of his pop-art-inspired practice.

It all began when he travelled to Muscat for a holiday in 2017. “It was love at first sight,” says Grivakis. “Since then, I have devoted my art to what I have beeninspired by the most, and that is Oman and its people. When I came back to Greece, it was a one-way road for me to determine what to do with so much inspiration.”

Water Lillies. 2019. Digital Collage, 55x60cm

Hailing from Crete, an island located in the south of Greece, Grivakis worked as a full-time artist and art teacher before he decided to quit his job and move to Muscat in July last year. “No one does that until one feels that one is going to one’s real home,” he shares. He has since focused on creating collages that mix masterpieces such as Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889) and cultural icons like Elizabeth Taylor with Omani landmarks and people.

“I do not know how this idea came to me, but it is a way of combining my two great loves—art and Oman,” says

Grivakis. “I always used to do collages, but, with Oman, I elevated this practice as I had the greatest material to work with, such as the Grand Mosque in Muttrah, Wadi Shab and even the wonderful traditional clothing of Oman.” This stellar mix of Western and non-Western iconography, imbued with Grivakis’ own heartland-born eccentricity, has helped him establish his own timeless artistic language, one that has quickly made him asensation across the region.

Grivakis is also deeply motivated by the need to move towards ecological art. “I only use recycled material,because I believe we can give a second chance, not just to people but also to things. One man’s rubbish is always my treasure,” he states. He recently created a collage of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman, just using paper shopping bags.

Day and Night. 2018. Digital collage. 55x60cm.

“It is an idea that came to me naturally, as I used to think about what to do with all the waste I have in my studio,” shares Grivakis, who frequently turns shampoo bottles, roll-ons and pieces of wood he finds at construction sites into Omani figures in traditional and modern clothes. “Paper shopping bags, wrapping sheets and plastic bottles are all a way of challenging myself to create something out of nothing, or, in other words, make art from trash,” he notes.

Grivakis’ stirring artistic repertoire is filled with bright color tones and intricate collage work, flavored with his love of pop art. “I do not know how to describe my style of art. All I know is that my art makes many people happy every day,” says Grivakis, who gives daily workshops on how to paint with acrylics, oil paints, colored pencils, charcoal and collages, to enthusiasts, especially children, in Muscat.

His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. 2019. Handmade collage. 70x80cm.

As a new entrant to the region’s thriving art scene,Grivakis has great admiration for local talent, such asOmani artists Alia Al Farsi and Anwar Sonya, and Abbas Almosawi from Bahrain. And with his love for Oman and the Middle East stronger than ever, he is sure to continue ‘Omanising’ art and living in the place he so lovingly calls home.

Images Courtesy Of Kostis Grivakis

Next In