Input your search keywords and press Enter.

Daryl Nero paints camels, castles in Sultanate of Oman

Last Sunday, Daryl Nero’s long-awaited art exhibition, Nero in Oman, opened in a private gallery not far from Greenwood Park. For a few short hours the serenity of this leafy suburb gave way to throngs of art lovers, eager to add to their art collection or hoping to buy an early Christmas gift for someone special. Once choices were made and red stickers indicated a sale, guests were free to sip a Margarita, munch a samoosa and shoot the breeze, chatting about their art collections, reminiscing about their own trips to the deserts of the Sultanate of Oman, or describing innovative efforts to make a living in the depressed economy.
True to his Viking heritage, Nero is an intrepid traveller, drawn to places of great natural beauty and historical importance. The rugged fastnesses and desert fortresses of Oman feature in many of Nero’s scenes, and studies of old world camel trains traversing the desert sands, with backdrops of barely-glimpsed palm trees and wadis, recall a bygone age that is rapidly giving way to new and glamorous double carriage ways, bridges and modern buildings.

Using acrylic paint, charcoal and chalk, Nero has produced a mystical display featuring camel trains, windswept palms, desert villages, 18th century castles and sheiks’ fortresses.
Besides deserts and mountains, the Sultanate has beautiful beaches, and the burgeoning city of Muscat with its waterfront is a growing tourist attraction. In a bygone age, dhows were important for trade and for the fishing and pearl diving industries, and the country continues to be famous for it’s expertise in building dhows. These craft have always held a fascination for Nero who has painted dhows in Kenya’s Lamu and down the length of the Mozambican coastline. Water colours of dhows sailing against the wind feature in his current exhibition – there are also studies of unusual rock formations surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea.

If Nero’s paintings pique your interest in this ancient land, you may be interested to know that Oman was at one time a British protectorate. At independence in 1970, the Sultan, Qaboos bin Said al Said, made many social changes and improved the oil industry. In the early 1980s, coinciding with an independent Zimbabwe, Oman opened its doors to the outside world. Nero describes the Sultan as benevolent and enlightened and says he has pledged that the citizens of Oman will all enjoy water, electricity, healthcare and social amenities: every day the state delivers water to settlements. With his artist’s eye, Nero observed that government water tanks were square, white and crenellated, bearing more than a passing resemblance to an ancient Omani castle.

“I like shows to have some historical fabric that is manifest in it’s architecture,” says Nero, who has tentatively planned his next expedition to include Goa. If the artist arrives in this alluring destination where art, architecture, culture and history exist side by side, collectors of his work will soon start planning their next purchase.