Category Archives: Art

Abdullah Al-Mojahid: Genius Painter and Famous Cartoonist

1

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.

mojahid2

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

New Film on Sanaa

oldcity

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.

maqaleh
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

Mazher Nizar, Yemeni Artist

listening

Divided between two cultures, it has been two decades ago since I came from India back to Yemen. Yemen has always inspired me  since 1985 especially the old city of Sanaa where I have been painting views and veiled women. The rich history and culture of Yemen allowed me to work with Queens and women of this beautiful country.

Since I studied arts in the “Government College of Art and Craft” in Calcutta,  India still remains my first love as I have been among the contemporary Indian artists who inspired me, to name a few Ganesh Pyne, Ganesh Haloi, Sunil Das, M.F. Husain and many others. My works are influenced by the “Kolkutta Modern Art Group”.

There is still so much to do and I am always feeling that I am still at the beginning. I have worked with several mediums like oil-acrylic, mixed media and water colour. I work as an eclectic artist and  I don´t like to stick on one medium for a longer time. Since Yemen has only a hand full of artists and not much has been done here yet in Contemporary Art, I am still working with different mediums and techniques to create varieties of artworks.

These are my recent works on canvas, mostly untitled, but women remain the major subject in my abstract compositions, sometimes combined with fragments from the old city of Sanaa.

Mazher Nizar

See his art at http://www.nizar-art.com/index.html

Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

demaigret

Dr. Alessandro de Maigret (1943-2011)

Announcing an Exhibition and Conference

Yemen’s World Heritage. Archaeology, Art and Architecture
Museum of Oriental Art in Venice
October 20 – December 16, 2016

A joint initiative of:
Museums of the Veneto – Museum of Oriental Art , Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage, Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen, Monumenta Orientalia, Rome

The Oriental Art Museum, the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage and the Italian Archaeological Mission in Yemen want to promote a series of events to make known in Venice’s the historic and artistic heritage of Yemen. Since March 2015 Yemen has been in a conflict in which the bombing violated numerous protected sites both nationally and internationally recognized, and destroyed museums and monuments of the rich cultural past of the country.
Recently, UNESCO reiterated its condemnation of the destruction perpetrated against the world heritage of Yemen and initiated a campaign # Unite4Heritage, the Yemeni Heritage Week: Museums United for Yemen for 2016, involving the major museums of Europe (the British Museum, Musée du Louvre, Hermitage, etc.).

From Prehistory to the present day the extreme tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has preserved unique features in the production of their material culture, whose forms are as native as the result of exchanges and synergies with Africa, Asia and the Mediterranean. Historians of Greek and Roman classicism used to talk about Yemen using the nickname Arabia Felix, as a land of prosperity and wealth, not only material but also geographical and territorial. Yemen was, in fact, at the center of an important caravan and maritime trade axis: here met traders from India and the Horn of Africa with those who would later traced to the north of the Peninsula to enrich the courts of the various empires in Mediterranean with products such as incense, myrrh, spices, pearls and precious stones.
The deep bond of man with the settlement territory is expressed in through the remains of south Arabian kingdoms – the most notable of which is the Kingdom of Sheba – which were already using the house typology commonly referred as Yemen “tower house”.
With the start of Islam then, the Yemeni architecture has been enhanced with new forms and stylistic paradigms, and many temples of the pagan tradition turned into mosques. Archaeological studies conducted in Yemen have shown a slow and lasting osmosis between pre-Islamic and Islamic civilization.

The initiative promoted at the Museum of Oriental Art in Venice will go right to investigate this union, to raise awareness of an almost unknown cultural heritage in the West, whose origins are lost in the often muffled contours of myth.

The initiative also wants to highlight some Italian experiences, namely that of the Italian Archaeological Mission in the Republic of Yemen (MAIRY), began in 1980 and that of the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage began in 2005. Both have as their purpose the protection and enhancement of Yemeni heritage and both have been accomplished in total synergy with local counterparts, thus becoming moments of much scientific as human enrichment.

A series of seminars and meetings, by national and international experts at the Oriental Art Museum, will bring the public closer to the peculiarities of the history and culture of the country. In the room which will host the conference there will be some photo-descriptive panels on display that will illustrate some aspects of archeology, art and architecture of Yemen as  direct testimony of both the Italian Archaeological Mission and  the Veneto Institute for Cultural Heritage.

Continue reading Yemen’s World Heritage in Venice

Dhamar Regional Museum Destroyed

Dhamar, Yemen Museum Destroyed

The Dhamar Regional Museum in Yemen, the main museum of the Dhamar governorate, was been destroyed in a Saudi airstrike last Thursday. The Museum, built in 2002, is the repository of all work done in the province. Together with the building, it is not clear how much of the collection of pre-Islamic antiquities, including a number of  dedicatory stelae  and also the material produced by the Chicago Oriental Institute’s work from 1978 onwards (see here too) have been lost. Some of the museum’s artefacts were recently digitalised by CASIS an EU-funded project.

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen in the last 62 days to bring its ally, fugitive president Mansour Hadi, back to power. The airstrikes have killed, at least, 3,912 Yemenis, according to FNA’s independent tally. According to a recent report by Freedom House Foundation, most of the victims of the deadly Al Saud campaign are civilians, including a large number of women and children. Thousands of residential buildings have been destroyed, and hundreds of civil and public facilities were reduced to rubble as a result of the bombardments by Saudi warplanes on the Yemeni cities and towns, the group said.

The city of Dhamar, 100 km to the south of Sana’a, was one of the famous Arabic and Islamic culture and scientific centres in Yemen.

Source:

Saudi Warplanes Fully Destroy Dhamar Museum‘, Fars News Tue May 26, 2015
For photos of the destruction, click here.

Youthful Art in Yemen

A boy rides past a graffiti on his bicycle in Sanaa

Larissa Alles has published “Voicing Grievances and Hope through Art: Yemen’s Youth Empower Themselves” in Ethnopolitics Papers, Vol. 5.  It can be downloaded here.  The abstract is attached below:

With a reputation for terrorism and state failure, for many Yemen is not the first place that comes to mind when speaking about a new art scene in the Middle East. Yet, in the course of the Arab uprisings, Yemen’s youth used various forms of art as a medium to voice their demands and spread messages of resilience and peace. Carving out a new space in civil society, they continue to lobby for peaceful coexistence at times of violent elite struggles and political bargaining that does not accommodate the ordinary Yemenis’ needs or the 2011 youth protesters’ demands. Although quietly, this counter-movement takes on various forms, ranging from music and theatre to photography, filming and graffiti. A key aspect in most of these zero-budget projects is the participation of the ordinary population. Murad Subay’s much-respected graffiti campaigns turned the capital Sana‘a into an open-air studio for many who might not have touched a brush or spray can ever before, but discovered the powerful voice of art as a means to express both discontent with the current situation in Yemen and hopes for the future. The media collective #SupportYemen gives a voice to neglected issues through their videos that are available to everybody inside and outside the country. Yemen’s very own TEDx events give a platform for artists to present their work and activists to spread the messages of their campaigns. This paper sheds light on these three cases of a new civic entrepreneurship in Yemen and demonstrates the inclusiveness of their working mechanisms and the emanation their work has in the country and abroad.