Lily Filson discusses how she teaches the history of Yemeni art in a survey course in order to draw attention to its importance and the need for its preservation.
Yemen’s most celebrated and accomplished painter, Abduljabar Ahmed Noaman, died on January 28, 2019 at an age of 70 years. Born in 1949 in the Dhubhan countryside of Taiz province, he received basic and secondary schooling in Aden. He was the first Yemeni student to be dispatched abroad to study arts at the Italian Institute for Arts in Cairo, from which he graduated in 1973 with a bachelor degree.
Noaman had proved himself to be have an original artistic talent and became a professional and prolific painter. Throughout his artistic career over half a century he produced hundreds of artistic works and contributed to dozens of artistic exhibitions at regional and international levels. In his paintings and drawings he depicted Yemen’s geography, history, civilization and culture. His models were taken from different parts of Yemen: From Hadramawt mud brick skyscrapers, to the old city of Sanaa and bunches of roses on Mount Sabir in Taiz and so on.
Continue reading Yemen’s First Artist Abduljabar Noaman Dies
image courtesy of Rahman Taha
Zayd al-Faqih has published online a history of the Yemeni agate on the website al-madaniya.
Here is the start of the article:
Yemen has been known since ancient times for its agate and incense trade, as well as trade in other precious stones such as onyx and jade. However, agate has achieved broader fame as a leading precious stone amongst many other valuable gems, incense and spices, including coffee beans. Yemeni agate arrived in Europe early; mentions include in Aristotle’s writings (384 – 322 BC), which state that the finest agate and onyx were brought from Yemen. The Book of Crowns of the Kings of Ḥimyar, by Wahb ibn Munabbih (655–728 AD), states that Shaddad ibn Amr, from the people of Ād, built his palace from onyx stones. History books state that when al-Muzaffar al-Sulayhi became ruler of Yemen, he sent gifts to his Fatimid allies, including 70 swords with agate handles, 12 knives with onyx blades, 5 agate adorned garments and a large number of precious stones. Abu al-Hassan al-Hamdani (893–945 AD) writes that the art of forming and using onyx for adorning and lining reached its peak during his time, and was used to make bottles, cases, sword handles and plates…
Despite the turmoil and suffering in Yemen, a number of Yemeni artists are continuing to write, draw, photograph and film. One of the more exciting online resources for this is the website al-madaniya, published in English and Arabic. Current posts include an article on Muhammad Mahmud al-Zubayri, Art in prehistoric Yemen, Yemeni songs, the poets ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Muqalih and ‘Abd Allah al-Baradduni, several short stories and much more. All the articles are published in Arabic and English, so they are also suitable for anyone interested in learning Arabic.
As note in the “About” section…
al-Madaniya magazine is a platform for Yemeni art, culture and civil society. It aims to highlight and nurture Yemeni art, culture and civil society initiatives through contributions from emerging and established writers, photographers and creatives
The magazine aims to impact the way Yemenis view their own society by providing a space for its cultural, intellectual and artistic productions, and by highlighting initiatives bridging social divisions. By presenting all contributions in both Arabic and English language, the magazine allows the international reader to explore an undiscovered side to Yemen, which differs from images of Yemen created in mainstream media
al-Madaniya magazine is a project implemented by the Yemen Polling Center and made possible by the generous funding of the German Institute of Foreign Affairs. Yemeni artist Ibi Ibrahim has been commissioned to lead the project and serve as the Editor in Chief.
One of the most important late 19th century travelers to Yemen was the Austrian Eduard Glaser, who commented on life in the Ottoman era and collected South Arabian inscriptions and antiquities. His work is archived in several places in Vienna. In the Kunsthistorische Museum there is a small collection of South Arabian art that he collected. I visited this last week and provide several pictures of what can be seen.
The Glaser Collection in the museum
A project is underway to provide open access to the squeezes that Glaser made of South Arabian inscriptions.
Two Yemeni journals are now archived online.
Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mojahid is one of the most influential cartoonists and creative painters in Yemen. Al-Mojahid distinguished himself as a pioneering cartoonist and a professional painter. His original talent and professional training had significantly helped him to make his way in the caricature profession in Yemen. “Al-Mojahid had been one of the most important Yemeni cartoonists”, said the Yemeni Minister of Information, Mua’mar Al-Iryani, in a statement issued on his death.
The much-respected artist Abdullah Ahmed Al-Mojahid was born in Taiz in 1950 and died on September 1, 2017, in the capital Sanaa.
He has been a prolific artist, effectively contributing toward promoting the fine arts and caricature in Yemen. He produced dozens of artistic works through his professional career which spanned more than three decades. Due to his originality and ingenuity as a painter, Al-Mojahid established himself as a famous name both in Yemen and other parts of the Arab world. As a result, in 2013 he participated as a representative of Arab Painters in the International Exhibition for Paintings, organized by the Chinese Ministry of Culture for the Painters. His artistic works and paintings were displayed in various artistic and cultural venues and exhibitions. For example, he organized two exhibitions in Damascus, Syria, in 1980 and 1982.
Al-Mojahid studied Fine Arts in Damascus and started his artistic career as a professional cartoonist in Left-oriented Yemeni newspapers. He was well known in the caricature profession as Abu Suhail. His artistic works included dozens of paintings, drawings and portraits described as of the finest quality. His most famous caricature is entitled Qurūd Abū Suhayl (Abū Suhayl’s Monkeys), published in 1994 by Al-Thawri Newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP).
Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mojahed is one of the most influential cartoonists and creative painters in Yemen. Al-Mojahid distinguished himself as a pioneering cartoonist and a professional painter. His original talent and professional training had significantly helped him to make his way in the caricature profession in Yemen. “Al-Mojahid had been one of the most important Yemeni cartoonists”, said the Yemeni Minister of Information, Moa’mar Al-Iryani, in statement issued on his death.
The much-respected artist Abdullah AhmedAl-Mojahed was born in Taiz in 1950 and died on September 1, 2017, in the capital Sanaa.
Continue reading Abdullah Al-Mojahid: Genius Painter and Famous Cartoonist
The first showing of a documentary film entitled: “Sanaa In the Eyes of Creators” had its premier in Sanaa on Saturday August 19, 2017. The nearly one-hour long film was produced by the Qatar-based filmmaker Dr. Fuad Abdulaziz. In coordination between AIYS and Dr. Abdulaziz, the film premiered at the Yemeni Center for Studies and Researches (YCSR). The limited audience included Yemen’s great poet and author Dr. Abdulaziz al-Maqalih, a few researchers and a representative of AIYS for watching the film.
Dr. al-Maqalih, far right
This documentary mainly focuses on two main ideas: Sanaa as an ancient city and Sanaa under attack since 2015. In the first part, filmed mainly in 2013 and 2014, the producer highlights Sanaa as an old city that inspires a variety of Yemeni artists. The second part deals with the impact on Sanaa of the bombing. The film, as its title bears, is designed to reflect Yemeni artists’ and intellectuals’ views and impressions on the old city of Sanaa. It also shows the old city’s troubles caused by the ongoing civil war and Arab coalition military intervention in the conflict. The film provides an overall picture of the old city created by dozens of shots and quotations, including poetry. The producer devotes major space to the Yemeni artists’ testimonies. A number of prominent creators give their opinions on the old city of Sanaa that inspired their artistic works as created by authors, painters, poets, singers and other artists.
Continue reading New Film on Sanaa