The Vibe: Shayma al Mughairy

When 17-year-old Omani sand artist Shayma al Mughairy reached the finals of Arabs Got Talent in 2011 her life changed. Currently based in the UAE, here she talks about her passion for storytelling in sand, her packed schedule and about keeping her options open

At school my teacher told me about sand art. We practised together and I quickly realised that I could do it. All I needed was a light box with sand, a piece of glass and white material for the background. I can draw any picture, from portraits to detailed stories – I like doing stories best, stories about everyday life

Arabs Got Talent was a great experience. It was the first competition I’ve entered and it was great to do it with a unique talent. It was the first time I’d taken part in a show with a worldwide audience and I discovered I could do both a show and do a portrait in just two minutes

Shayma al Mughairy
She creates pieces of art using her fingers

People now recognise me – the show changed my life. Before, only people in Oman and the UAE knew about me but after the performance, people from all over the world started calling me and now my schedule is packed. I hope to go to South Korea in a few months’ time to represent Oman at the Yeosu World Expo. They want me to do shows that tell the story of Oman, so I will draw on the country’s heritage

I recently performed at an event for [Dubai Ruler] His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. I told the story of Dubai and the UAE, incorporating pictures of the seven emirates and the Burj Khalifa – I felt honoured to perform

Shayma al Mughairy
Al Mughairy recently performed for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

In June I will be 18. Although I am still young to be doing all these things, I feel the experience is teaching me useful lessons. If you start young you are better prepared to deal with challenges as you get older

At the moment I am in my final year of high school. When I graduate I hope to be an engineer. It is important for me to have another profession because although I am doing my art and my shows now, I realise I must have a back-up plan. One day, however, I would like to open a school to teach students how to do sand art

Shayma al Mughairy
All Al Mughairy needs is a lightbox with sand to create her artwork