‘Yemen’s Banksy’: Murad Subay creates art against war in Berlin/ On “DW”

‘Yemen’s Banksy’: Murad Subay creates art against war in Berlin

Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, say humanitarian organizations. At the Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin, street artist Murad Subay comments on the horrors of war.

‘The Faces of War’: Murad Subay working on his mural at the Berliner Union Film Ateliers

Seven black-and-white portraits line up against a red background. Huge black holes replace the figures’ eyes. “Wars are one of the evil roots, turning humans into monsters, victims, and others watching and ignoring,” writes artist Murad Subay in a caption next to his mural.

Continue reading “‘Yemen’s Banksy’: Murad Subay creates art against war in Berlin/ On “DW””

“Mortar Rose” mural by Subay, on TV 2000, Italy.

On Today TV program episod was dedicated to Yemen, on the Italian channal TV2000.

Where the journalist Laura Silvia Battaglia, spoke about Yemen and the situation and about my work during the war as well.

Continue reading ““Mortar Rose” mural by Subay, on TV 2000, Italy.”

Meet Yemen’s street artist: ‘We want peace’

Meet Yemen’s street artist: ‘We want peace’


With ending war his motivation and the street his canvas, one Yemeni artist is using street art to campaign for peace in Yemen

Often described as the ‘Arab Banksy,’ Murad Subay says he is using street art to promote peace in his war-torn country
Gouri Sharma's picture

SANAA – Murad Subay sees the devastated streets and bombed buildings in Yemen’s war as something more than just ruins: he sees canvases onto which he can tell stories through art.

The award-winning 30-year-old street artist’s aim is to spread a message of peace during Yemen’s current crisis – and his work is having a major impact in Yemen and abroad.

“Street art has never really been a part of Yemeni culture, but after seven years of war, it is becoming more normal,” he tells Middle East Eye.

An image from Subay’s ‘12 Hours’ campaign launched in 2013, about recruiting child soldiers in Yemen (Photo courtesy of Murad Subay)

Since the start of the revolution in 2011, which has now escalated into a full-scale war between the Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed government forces, Subay has been drawing murals around the country in a bid to raise awareness of the impact the war is having on Yemen’s civilian population.

“I’m not working for any side or for my own power,” he says. “I am against the war. We only hear about explosions or the voices of hatred, and doing art in times of war means we want peace.”

Highlighting the harsh realities of today’s war-torn Yemen, Subay’s murals adorn burnt-out buildings and walls across some of the country’s biggest cities including the capital Sanaa, the southwestern city of Taiz, and the coastal city of Hodeida.

His depictions tackle issues such as the forced disappearances of civilians, the current cholera epidemic, and the ongoing misery inflicted by both sides on innocent civilians.

Experts say his work is having a powerful impact on Yemeni society. Dr Anahi Alviso Marino, a Paris-based political scientist, has done extensive research on street art in Yemen and the role Subay has been playing.

This image is from Subay’s project called ‘The walls remember their faces’ – murals depicting the many people who have disappeared in Yemen (Photo courtesy of Murad Subay)

She told MEE: “On the artistic level, it’s the first time there are public exhibitions on the street [with] such amazing participation from the public.

“His campaign on the forced disappearances, for example, pushed the issue onto the political agenda. It also helped to find and locate some of the people who had gone missing. People were found because of the images he had stencilled,” she adds.

People were found because of the images he had stencilled

-Dr Anahi Alviso Marino,  political scientist

According to a 2017 report from Human Rights Watch (HRW), dozens of people have been forcibly disappeared.

Subay says that the role of street art is more important in times of war than during times of harmony.

“During times of peace, everything existed but today people are losing their voices, their lives, their hope,” he says. “When you walk down a street in Yemen today, you will only see disappointment on people’s faces. They don’t believe in any side of this war. They just want to eat and have access to clean water. But there is cholera and diphtheria, and a million people facing hunger and malnutrition.”

An image from Subay’s ‘12 Hours’ campaign depicting the US-led drone attacks in Yemen (Photo courtesy of Murad Subay)

Already one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, the humanitarian situation for Yemen’s 28 million population has only worsened since the escalation of the war.

The United Nations says that Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with eight million people “on the brink of famine and a failing health system”.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the cholera epidemic in the country has become the largest and fastest-spreading outbreak of the disease in modern history.

At the end of 2017, a million cases were expected, with at least 600,000 of that figure likely to be children, according to the WHO.

The organisation has also reported that nearly 500 people have been infected with diphtheria, a preventable disease that was thought to have been eradicated.

Childhood dreams

Subay was born in the city of Dhamar in the southwest and moved to Sanaa when he was six years old.

From an early age, he started showing an interest in art and he grew up reading books about famous European painters like Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh and Henri Matisse.

With the encouragement of his family, Subay began painting and teaching himself art skills at home.

Yet with formal art courses only available in Aden and Hodeida and not in the capital, Subay went on to study English literature at Sanaa University.

In 2011, the uprising against Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government inspired Subay to take his art to the streets.

“I wasn’t ever thinking that I would do street art. I didn’t really know that it existed,” he says.

Subay joined thousands of protesters at Tagheer Square in Sanaa, chanting for “human rights and justice.”

Today people are losing their voices, their lives, their hope

– Murad Subay, street artist

“When it looked like the revolution was going to fail, people grew frustrated, especially those who had been dreaming of a better life. I was also frustrated and that’s when I began drawing on the streets of Sanaa,” he says.

A year later, he launched his first street art campaign called “Colour the Walls of Your Street,” inviting people through social media to participate in an event to paint over the effects of the shelling and bullets on walls. Many people from his community – the young, the old, artists, non-artists, came together for the event, painting a variety of images from flowers to designs, to non-descript objects.

‘Mortar Rose’ is an image from Murad Subay’s ‘Ruins’ campaign (Photo courtesy of Murad Subay)

Since then, he has initiated four more campaigns, including “Ruins,” a project encouraging locals to paint on what is left of destroyed walls.

It was launched in 2015, in the Bani Hawwat area of Sanaa, where air strikes destroyed more than seven houses and killed 27 civilians, including 15 children, according to Subay’s campaign.

The UN says the prolonged war has already claimed the lives of more than 5,000 civilians in less than three years. Due to the dangers, Subay has often found himself caught in the crossfire with authorities.

“I once went to Taiz during a time when it was being heavily bombarded by air strikes and mortar shells,” he recalls. “I had just finished painting some water murals when we were caught.”

“The authorities kept us for around an hour, and only released us on the condition that we would return to Sanaa. Another time, when we went drawing in a dangerous part of Sanaa, we were kept in a cow pen made of mud for around one hour [as well].”

To lessen any possible risks with authorities, Subay seeks permission to paint on buildings from their owners.

“It isn’t necessarily illegal to do street art, but given the dangerous times we live in, I always get permission from people who own the buildings that I draw on,” he explains.

“Initially, Yemenis, who are sceptical of most things because of the war, weren’t sure about what I was doing. So I’ve had to do my best to show that I’m independent and that I want to express what this means for our people.”

Politics is not just impacting his professional life – his personal life is also under pressure from Yemen’s current situation.

Subay’s wife Hadil, 23, is currently on a scholarship studying international law at Stanford University in California. But US President Donald Trump’s travel ban, which was announced in January 2017, has kept the couple apart.

“It’s been one year since I’ve seen my wife. She is scared to leave the US in case they don’t let her back in, and I’m not allowed to visit her,” he says.

It’s been one year since I’ve seen my wife

-Murad Subay, street artist

His artwork has attracted global attention, as he is often called the pioneer of the street art scene in Yemen and the “Arab Banksy”.

Yet Marino says that this description does not completely reflect Subay’s work. She explains that Banksy is much more of a solo artist, while Murad’s work is more of a collaborative effort that brings the community together.

In 2016, Murad Subay received the Freedom of Expression Arts Award from the London-based Index on Censorship organisation (Photo courtesy of Index on Censorship)

Subay has won at least five international awards, including the Freedom of Expression Award in 2016 from the prestigious London-based Index on Censorship organisation, which he travelled to London to pick up.

He has drawn a mural in London reflecting how the international community is ignoring the human rights violations and atrocities taking place in Yemen. But because of the war, Subay says that he has missed at least 15 opportunities to speak about or showcase his work.

In March 2017, he collaborated with UK-based artist Lisa-Mari Gibbs on the anniversary of the first “Colour the Walls of Your Street” campaign.

Both artists hosted an “open day of art” simultaneously in Sanaa and Reading, a city in the UK.

During the day, groups in the two countries were given the opportunity to express themselves through art, with the overarching theme of promoting peace.

People don’t believe in any side of this war. They just want to eat and have access to clean water. But there is cholera and diphtheria, and a million people facing hunger and malnutrition

– Murad Subay, street artist

Almost one year later, Subay is keen to see the event grow.

“Last year a bridge was built between Yemen and the UK. This year I’m working on building new bridges with places like Milan, New York and South Korea to see if artists in those countries would like to participate in the ‘open day for art’,” Subay says.

With restricted access for foreign journalists and local journalists facing pressure on the ground in Yemen, international news outlets are struggling to tell the story of the dire humanitarian situation in the country.

Subay says that his murals and the small street art scene that is developing in the country could have an impact on getting their stories out.

‘The Family Photo’ image drawn in a destroyed building highlights the loss of innocent lives in Yemen’s war (Photo courtesy of Najeeb Subay)

Dr Anahi adds: “By speaking with a visual language, he is attracting this sort of attention. He says he wants to spread a message of political and social content and it is working.”

For Subay, however, his main concern is his fellow Yemenis.

“Street art has never really been a part of Yemeni culture, but after seven years of war, it is becoming more normal,” he says. “What is art in the streets going to do to help? It’s not going to feed people, but it is work to feed people; it’s work to give them hope, to give them a voice.”

Article Link..

Gatukonst sprider budskap om fred i Jemen\ By: Sofia Eriksson, on “halland nyheter”

Cholera maakt angst in Jemen ‘bijna normaal’\ On “NOS”


Cholera maakt angst in Jemen ‘bijna normaal’

Woensdag, 18:09

“Acht vrienden van mij hebben cholera opgelopen. Twee zijn eraan overleden. Ik kan het nog steeds niet geloven.” Dit zijn de woorden van Khalid Alghalani (30). Hij woont in Sanaa, de hoofdstad van Jemen. Zijn land wordt geteisterd door de grootste cholera-uitbraak van de afgelopen jaren. In het land woedt al twee jaar een burgeroorlog.

Continue reading “Cholera maakt angst in Jemen ‘bijna normaal’\ On “NOS””

“Cholera”, my mural in “Ruins” campaign


جدارية “كوليرا”:
يموت اليمنيون الف مرة،، ولا أحد يكترث. لا أطراف الصراع، ولا المجتمع الدولي ولم نعد حتى نحن نكترث بأنفسنا. كم هو مشين أن يموت الناس هنا من مرض تافه تم القضاء عليه في معظم بلدان العالم ومنها اليمن. الاشنع من هذا انه كان بإمكان تفادي إنتشار المرض بسهولة وباقل الجهود، ولكن عدم الإكتراث بحياة اليمنيين يؤدي كل يوم إلى تزايد مرعب في عدد ضحايا الكوليرا. كم هو صعب أن تكون يمني في هذا الوقت، وكم هو أصعب أن تكون طفلاً لا يعرف سوى الف مفردة للموت.
جداريتي “كوليرا” على جدار مستشفى الجمهوري، ضمن #حملة_حطام، 23 مايو 2017.
“Cholera” Mural:
Yemenis die a thousand times, and no one cares! Not the parties of the conflict, nor the international community and even we no longer care about ourselves. It is outrageous that people here die from a trivial disease that has been eliminated in most countries of the world, including Yemen. What is more gruesome is that it was possible to avoid the spread of the disease easily and with minimal efforts, but the lack of attention to the lives of Yemenis leads every day to an alarming increase in the number of victims of cholera. It’s difficult to be a Yemeni at this time, and even more difficult to be a Yemeni child who grow up knowing only a thousand meanings of death.
My mural “Cholera” on the wall of al-Jamhouri Hospital in Sana’a, within #Ruins_campaign, May 23, 2017.

My mural, “Ruins” campaign

Houses of Death – “Ruins” campaign.


جدارية “منازل للموت” – الفنان ذي يزن العلوي:

“المنزل اليمني دمرتة الحرب وحولتة لركام, في كل منزل يمني هناك ضحايا سواء من الحرب أو الجوع أو المرض. الوباء يمثل من أخطر ما يمر به أي مجتمع لأنه يقضي على ماتبقى من الناجين من هول الحرب. اليمنيين يريدون حلا سريعا لأزمتهم. يريدون العيش بوئام وطمأنينة في منازلهم. الحرب تقتل الكثير من الابرياء .والكوليرا تقتل البقية.” هكذا تحدث الفنان ذي يزن العلوي واصفاّ خطر الكوليرا بعد أن رسم جداريته “منازل للموت” على جدار مستشفى الجمهوري، ضمن #حملة_حطام، 23 مايو 2017.

Houses of Death – Artist Thi Yazan al-Alawi:
“The Yemeni home is devastated by the war and it has been turned into wreckage; in every Yemeni home, there are victims of war, hunger, and/or disease. The Cholera epidemic is one of the most dangerous roads that a society can take because it destroys the remaining survivors of the war. Yemenis want a quick solution to their crisis. They want to live in harmony and tranquility in their homes. While war kills many innocent people in Yemen, Cholera kills the rest.” says artist Thi Yazan al-Alawi after painting his mural “Houses of Death” on the wall of al-Jamhouri Hospital in Sana’a, within #Ruins_campaign, May 23, 2017.

Mural by the artist : Thiyazen Al-Alawi

Slow Death Mural – Artist “Rasheed Qaid”, “Ruins” campaign.

جدارية الموت البطيء – الفنان رشيد قائد:
“كأنّ الحرب وحدها لا تكفي لتقضي على كلّ ما هو حيّ وجميل في هذا البلد، فجاءت الكوليرا لتدعم الحرب بموتٍ أقل تدريباً وعدةً وعتاداً، موتٍ أصمّ وأبكم يأخذ من بقوا في بيوتهم آمنين”. هكذا يصف الفنان رشيد قائد وباء الكوليرا بعد رسمه لجدارية ” الموت البطيء” على جدار مستشفى الجمهوري، ضمن #حملة_حطام، 23 مايو 2017. .
Slow Death Mural – Artist Rsheed Qaid:
“As if the war is not enough to eliminate everything that is alive and beautiful in this country. Cholera came as an extension to the war, supplying it with more death that needs no weapons or training. A death that is both deaf and mute, and a death that takes those who remain safely in their homes.”. This is how artist Rasheed Qaid describes the heavy toll of Cholera after painting his mural “Slow Death” on the wall of al-Jamhouri Hospital in Sana’a, within #Ruins_campaign, May 23, 2017.

Mural by the artist: Rasheed Qaid

“Sounds of Peace” mural by the artist “Hakim Alrudaini”, in “Ruins” campaign, May 14, 2017.


“صوت السلام”

“أن نكون في سلام مع أنفسنا، يجب ان نكون في سلام مع الأخرين اولاً.”
يقول الفنان: حكيم الرديني
جدارية الفنان #صوت_السلام، على جدار في تقاطع على شارع هايل مع الزبيري، #حملة_حطام, الأحد 14 مايو 2017

“Sound of Peace”

“To have peace with ourselves, we should have peace with others first.”
“Hakim Al-Rudaini” Said the artist.
The artist mural #Sound_of_Peace, on the wall at the intersection of Hail street and al-Zubairi street. #Ruins_Campaign Sunday May 14, 2017.

Mural by “Al-Alawi, “Ruins” Campaign, May 14, 2017.

“السلام اصبح ضرب من المستحيل بالنسبة للمجتمع اليمني , من رحم الحرب خرجت الامراض والمجاعة وعوامل اخرى تهدد وجود المجتمع .
هناك تجاهل من المجتمع العالمي للأزمة اليمنية ,اليمنيين لا يردون الألتفاف إلى ازمتهم بل يريدون حلول واقعية لينالون السلام ويعيشون بوئام .كل أطراف الحرب لا يهمهم معاناة المجتمع اليمني ,المجتمع اليمني يرى كل اطراف الحرب مجرد تجار بأسم السلام .”
يقول الفنان: ذي يزن العلوي
جدارية الفنان، على جدار في تقاطع على شارع هايل مع الزبيري، #حملة_حطام, الأحد 14 مايو 2017
Peace has become an impossible for Yemeni society, the war threaten the existence of the society due to the spreading of famine and diseases.
The international community did not give an enough attention to the Yemeni crisis. Yemenis wants more than attention at this moment, they want a real moves to push toward the peace, so they can have some peace. All the sides of this war did not care about the people of Yemen. Yemenis see the sides of the war as traders in the name of peace.
“Thiyazen Al-Alawi” said the artist.
The artist mural, on the wall at the intersection of Hail street and al-Zubairi street. #Ruins_Campaign Sunday May 14, 2017.