(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Dr Marjorie Kelly, associate professor of anthropology at the American University of Kuwait (AUK), is currently working on a comparative public art study within the GCC. Her work, which includes photographs taken on a trip to Oman earlier this month, will be on display at an international conference to be held in March at AUK.
Dr Marjorie said, ''My scholarly research focuses on museums, tourism and dress in the Arab world and Hawaii. I like writing and producing materials for use in American classrooms as there is relatively little available on the Gulf “ especially that which has come from the Gulf. This is changing as more institutions of higher education are established in the region with international faculty who publish in a variety of languages. I am particularly interested in getting students in the US and elsewhere to look beyond the stereotypes the American media presents of the Gulf.''
Dr Marjorie explained that some cultural icons such as coffee pots, incense burners and rosewater dispensers are shared throughout the GCC, but others are quite unique. ''An example of the latter would be the whales and elephants in UAE roundabouts,'' she said. ''My work also includes fountains as public amenities in the region. They range from fountains at the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, to the ones at Royal Opera House Muscat. I was very glad to have the chance to visit Oman again as its roundabouts are distinctive in their beautiful use of landscaping. Also, as roundabouts are being replaced by cross streets and stoplights, it is good to have a visual record of what exists in Oman and elsewhere before it is gone forever.''
Dr Marjorie intends to apply for a grant to do several months of research in Oman next year. ''Having lived for almost eight years in Hawaii, I am familiar with its tourist industry. Last year, for example, hotel revenue in the state of Hawaii was US4.81bn. That represents a lot of tourists and those who make repeat visits to the islands because they want to learn more about the local culture. So I would like to apply my experience from there towards understanding cultural tourism in Om