Yemeni artists paint their hopes for peace
An artists’ collective in Yemen holds an exhibition to help alleviate the pain of people exhausted by years of war.
Mar 17, 2017
A warplane firing missiles. A gunman taking aim. A map of Yemen dripping with blood.
A group of Yemeni artists took to the streets on Wednesday, painting murals on the wall of Sanaa University in a visual protest against the war.
The exhibition and a workshop were aimed at locals exhausted by a conflict with no end in sight.
“I came here with my family to express how fed up we are with the way we’re living because of the war,” said Fouad Sharfeddin.
“This event gives us a breather and hope for a return to a normal life.”
TRT World’s Clinton Nagoor has this story about the event.
War, destruction, famine
The war between pro-government forces and Shia Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa has devastated Yemen and pushed it to the brink of famine.
Iran-allied Houthi fighters overran Sanaa in 2014, forcing the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee into exile.
In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition started a campaign to oust the Houthis. Since then, the UN says the fighting has killed at least 7,400 people and wounded 40,000, devastating the country’s economy.
Published on Mar 15, 2017
A group of Yemeni artists take to the streets, painting murals on the wall of Sanaa University in a visual protest against three years of war.
Published on Mar 20, 2017
(15 Mar 2017) LEADIN:
A group of young Yemenis are tackling their feelings on the war through street art.
They painted the walls of a university with messages of peace in the capital Sanaa.
Sitting on the pavement this young man prepares his weapon against the civil war in Yemen.
But it’s not a rifle… it’s a tin of paint.
He’s one of dozens of Yemeni art lovers who’ve gathered in the capital Sanaa to join a street art campaign against Yemen’s devastating two-year war.
The event, dubbed “Open Day for Art”, is held every year on 15 March and is organised by street artist and political activist Murad Subai:
“Of course it is a message for peace and to renounce the political situation we are living in and also the war, hatred and the like, and for diversity. And it is also a message from the Yemeni society to politicians to find a quick solution to this catastrophic situation we are in,” he says.
Participants gather with paint and brushes in central Yemen to cover the walls of a university with messages of peace.
One artist, Haifa Subai, explains the meaning behind her painting, titled “Departing Soldiers”.
“This painting symbolises the call for peace, the end of the war and the ongoing conflict for years in Yemen.”
Another, a graphic designer called Tamam Al-Shibani, underlines the power of painting:
“Art is a great message in which we challenge political and inflammatory rhetoric calling for murder and political conflict,” he says.
The war in Yemen began in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition waged a devastating air campaign targeting Houthi rebels who seized control of the capital.
The conflict has pushed one of the Arab world’s poorest countries to the brink of famine.
“Open Day of Art”
At the time when wars and borders divide people, art reunites them from across different continents and cultures.
Open Day of Art is an annual event by the people and for the people. It is a day of art that seeks to give people the opportunity to express their different identities, their hopes for peace and values of coexistence, and their continued rejection of violence and war. To this end, we are pleased to invite you to participate in making this day by painting on the southern wall of Sana’a University, the venue off Rabat Street in front of “October 14” police station, Sana’a, Yemen, on March 15, 2017. In reviving this event, artists and people of Reading, Britain will be joining us this year in a collaboration organized by the brilliant British artist Lisa-Marie Gibbs. The event will forge a cross-border link between people in Britain and people in Yemen who are choosing to convert the walls of their cities into public art exhibitions open to all and reflecting their unique stories and different identities, simultaneously.
This invitation is open to everyone from across different cultural backgrounds, experiences, ages and races. Participation in this event is not limited to those who have a background in arts. Rather this event is an open platform for everyone to express themselves through art. Please bring your own colors and painting tools if you have them, and if you don’t have a background in arts then we will have enough colors to share with everyone.