Yemen: Art, love, bombs and bans\By Dorian Geiger


Yemen: Art, love, bombs and bans

Yemen’s most prolific street artist copes with Donald Trump’s immigration ban.

Subay’s artistic campaigns invite everyday Yemenis to pick up a paint brush or can of spray paint and participate in his art [Al Jazeera]


Dorian Geiger is a Canadian journalist, award-winning filmmaker, and a social video producer at Al Jazeera English.

They call him the Banksy of Yemen. ButMurad Subay, a 29-year-old street artist based in the capital Sanaa, shrugs off such comparisons.

Subay has transformed the streets of an active war zone into his own vibrant gallery. His canvases are often the ruins of war – crumbling, abandoned houses with gaping holes caused by mortar explosions.

“It is three letters only: W-A-R,” said Subay of his work, which continually shines a light on Yemen’s horrific humanitarian situation.

“It’s just to show the ugliness of war – this is what happens by war. This is my way to to protest against the injustice of this war and for peace.”

Subay’s work also focuses on Yemen’s dire economic situation, political corruption, disappeared persons, and US drone strikes.

‘It’s just to show the ugliness of war – this is what happens by war. This is my way to to protest against the injustice of this war and for peace’ [Photo courtesy of Murad Subay]

Yemen’s revolution, which unfolded on streets across the country on the heels of the Arab Spring just over six years ago, largely inspired his brand of artistic activism. Subay was there with the people, protesting in the streets of Sanaa. Those blissful but fleeting moments were short-lived, as the revolution would soon turn into a full-blown civil war.

“Yemenis were united in every part of Yemen,” said Subay. “It was a great moment. We loved it. When the revolution came, it never stops and it will continue.”

Unlike many street artists, who often work in the shadows, Subay’s work is a collaborative effort. Subay’s artistic campaigns invite everyday Yemenis to pick up a paintbrush or a can of spray paint and participate in his art. It’s an artistic approach he says is for the people, by the people.

“It’s a voice of [the people],” he described. “I’m a Yemeni. When I discuss something, I first [ask] what people should care about, what they are afraid of, and what [are] the issues that concern them? People are longing to end this war.”

His open-sourced style of art is what led him to his wife Hadil Almowafak. Almowafak, then in high school, had learned of one of Subay’s campaigns on social media. It was 2012, shortly after Yemen’s revolution and the ousting of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

She was mixing colours when Subay first approached her.

The happy couple are now separated and do not know when they will see each other again [Photo courtesy of Murad Subay]

“When we arrived we saw people painting on the walls,” she recalled. “Everyone was there. That was something new. People in the streets were standing by watching or [were] taking the brush and started painting. He wants to make the whole society part of his work.”

From then on, Almowafak was hooked – on both Subay and his art.

“Even if I had school, many times I would skip school just to go paint with them,” she added.

Three years later, in October 2015, the pair celebrated their wedding. By that time, civil war had broken out in Yemen.

Today, Houthi rebels and loyalists to former president Saleh are still engaged in a bloody battle against the current government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. A Saudi Arabian-led coalition – aligned with Hadi, and supported by the US – bombs the country routinely. It’s a fertile breeding ground for al-Qaeda, which the US frequently targets with drone strikes, and there’s an ISIL presence, too. But more often than not it seems, it is everyday Yemenis who pay the cost, often with their lives.

Just last week, a botched Navy Seals raid targeting al-Qaeda killed roughly 30 people, many of them civilians and some of them children, in President Donald Trump’s first attempt at military intervention in the country.

Subay’s work also focuses on Yemen’s dire economic situation, political corruption, disappeared people and US drone strikes [Photo courtesy of Murad Subay]

Tens of thousands have died in the fighting, many of them regular citizens. Hospitals and schools and have been bombed to bits, starvation is rampant and UNICEF has reported that a child dies every 10 minutes.

“Every day you hear of civilians being killed,” said Almowafak, now 21.

“When you hear air strikes, especially if it’s nearby, the whole house will be shaking. At night, you don’t know where they’re going to hit, especially [if] you’ve been hearing they’re targeting civilians. You’re always in this uncertainty. You don’t know if you’re going to be next, if your neighbour’s going to be next. It was insane. They will be firing at each other. The shelling, you’ve got mortars, you’ve got snipers killing people. It’s just crazy.”

Then, last year, the couple received life-changing news: Almowafak had been accepted to Stanford University in California, where she is currently studying. Conditions in Yemen had deteriorated at such a swift and deadly pace that it was impossible for Almowafak to pursue a serious education at home.

The acceptance offer from such a prominent US university was a life-preserver amid a sea of death and destruction. It was a way out and a bridge to achieving her dreams. Almowafak had dreamed of coming to America since she was a child.

But under Trump’s immigration banthat prohibits citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Yemen, from entering the US for 90 days, Almowafak’s academic future has been cast into doubt.

Subay has transformed the streets of an active warzone into his own vibrant gallery [Photo courtesy of Murad Subay]

“It’s really unfair,” said Almowafak, who wants to be a human rights lawyer.

Although a federal judge in Seattle has temporarily blocked the ban, it is unclear if this will stick.

“I am disappointed to see America take this road. I do feel like I’m trapped, like when I was in Yemen and the airport was closed and people wouldn’t be able to travel. I felt trapped there, as well, but at least there was war. The war was unfair to us. But here in US, in the land of freedom, and this happens, I just couldn’t believe it.”

The US only granted her a 12-month visa for her studies, as opposed to a four-year permit, which Almowafak would need to continue studying. If the block on Trump’s ban doesn’t hold, Almowafak will probably be forced to abandon her studies and return to Yemen indefinitely.

“You’re at Stanford, that’s a good place to be trapped in,” said Almowafak. “It’s like it’s a golden cage. I can’t visit my husband. He cannot come here, as well. I cannot visit my family. I can’t study abroad. I came here to study and I cannot do that and in a year I won’t be able to if the ban continues. I’m holding on to hope because I don’t want to think about what’s going to happen next.”

Almowafak had planned to return to Yemen this summer to be with Subay, but now those plans are in jeopardy.

“The first time [I heard about the ban], I thought it was a joke actually,” said Subay. “[The US] is the country of opportunities, the country of democracy and in the 21st century, you ban people according to their race, their religion for their nationality? This is stupidity. This law is racist. It’s unbelievable. [It’s] like putting honest, innocent people in a prison.”

Though the odds are stacked against them, Subay refuses to believe that his wife must give up on her dreams.

“She’s been following this chance to have a scholarship for two years. I know, I was there every step,” he said.

“Our country is what they call the third world. Our chances [are] not a lot. It sometimes comes once. So such a chance, to prove yourself in such a respectable university, it is really important and [precious] so she must and she will stay there to continue her studies. She is very brilliant.”

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Continue reading “Yemen: Art, love, bombs and bans\By Dorian Geiger”

اليمن: “أطفال المقابر”/جريدة “السفير”

  • اليمن: “أطفال المقابر”

غرافيتي للفنان مراد سبيع (مخيم ضروان – اليمن)


على الجهة اليسرى من الطريق الممتدة المتجهة لمحافظة “عمران”، تضطجع مئات من مخيمات النازحين الذين أجبرتهم الحرب على النزوح أو دمرت منازلهم.
عندما وصلنا أنا والأصدقاء إلى مخيم “ضروان”، استقبلنا النازحون هناك بلطف تام ومطلب هو الأهم، ألا وهو مدرسة لتعليم أطفالهم الذين منعوا من التعلم في المدارس الموجودة في المنطقة لعدم توفر مقاعد دراسية لهم، بحسب قولهم.
الأطفال وأهاليهم من النازحين يعانون الأمرين في مخيمات مُهمَلة لا توفر أبسط الخدمات مثل الحمامات. من المؤسف أنّ هذا ما يعاني منه جميع النازحين في جميع المخيمات التي صنعتها وما زالت تصنعها الحرب الدائرة في اليمن.
جداريتي، ضمن #حملة_حطام، عن النازحين، في مخيم ضروان للنازحين، 6 فبراير 2017.

من صفحة رسام الغرافيتي اليمني مراد سبيع – Murad Subay (عن فايسبوك)

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Continue reading “اليمن: “أطفال المقابر”/جريدة “السفير””

“Selling Misery” mural by: Rhman Qaid, in “Ruins campaign”. Feb.6,2017.


“المعاناة تُباع“

لأن المنظمات خذلت النازحين، وأصبحت تتاجر بمعاناتهم, قمت برسم هذه الجدارية، وأنا كلي أمل أن تصل الرسالة للمنظمات، وتقوم بمهامها وواجباتها الإنسانية تجاه المخيمات المنسية على أكمل وجه، لا أن يتم تحويل قضية النازحين إلى سلعة يتاجر بها.
جدارية الفنان: Rhman Qaid، ضمن #حملة_حطام، عن “النازحين”، في مخيم ضروان للنازحين، 6 فبراير 2017.

“Selling Misery”

Because of the great suffering due to war and in addition, they have been let down by the inefficient work by organizations and government toward them, I painted this moral to send a message of their suffering to whome it might concerns.
Mural by: Rhman Qaid, about “Displaced people” in #Ruins_campaign, in Dharawan’s displaced camp, February 6, 2017.

 "Selling Misery"
“Selling Misery”

“Yemenis dream” mural by: Thiyazen Alalawi, in “Ruins Campaign”. Feb.6,2017.


“الحلم اليمني “
المنزل هو سقف الأسرة ,وسقف استقرار المجتمع والحرب في اليمن نتائجها عديدة منها أنها طردت الناس إلى العراء .
العودة إلى المنزل والعودة للسلام هو حلم كل يمني.

جدارية الفنان: ذي يزن العلوي، ضمن #حملة_حطام، عن “النازحين”، في مخيم ضروان للنازحين، 6 فبراير 2017.


“Yemenis dream”

The house is the cover of the family ,and the cover of the society’s stability.
Ejecting the people outdoors is one of many results of the war .
Regained the houses and the peace are dreams of all Yemenis.

Mural by: Thiyazen Alalawi, about “Displaced people” in #Ruins_campaign, in Dharawan’s displaced camp, February 6, 2017.

Yemenis Dream1
Yemenis Dream1

“Barbed camps” mural by: Rsheed Qaid, in Ruins Campaign. Feb.6,2017.


“مخيمات شائكة”

النازحين في المخيمات هم أكثر من يعاني من الحرب ,لأنهم تعرضوا للطرد من بيوتهم ومناطقهم, وهم ايضا يعانون داخل المخيمات المحصورة فهم غير قادرين علئ الخروج بسبب الحالة المادية السيئة كما أنه لاتتوفر لديهم ابسط الامكانيات الأولية للعيش بكرامة .

جدارية الفنان: Rsheed Qaid ، ضمن #حملة_حطام، عن “النازحين”، في مخيم ضروان للنازحين، 6 فبراير 2017.


“Barbed camps”

The displaced people are the most affected by war . They have been forced to leave their homes and areas .They are expose to persecution inside the camps due to the absence of the most basic necessities of life.
Mural by: Rsheed Qaid, about “Displaced people” in #Ruins_campaign, in Dharawan’s displaced camp, February 6, 2017.

Barbed Camps 1
Barbed Camps 1

“Children of Graves” my mural in “Ruins Campaign”, Feb.6,2017.


“أطفال المقابر”

على الجهة اليسرى على الطريق الممتده من الطريق المتجهة لمحافظة “عمران” تضطجع مئات من مخيمات النازحين الذين أجبترهم أو دمرت منازلهم الحرب.
عندما وصلنا أنا والأصدقاء إلى مخيم “ضروان”، إستقبلنا النازحين هناك بلطف تام ومطلب هو الأهم، ألا وهو مدرسة لتعليم أطفالهم الذين منعوا من تدريس اطفالهم في المدارس الموجوده في المنطقة لعدم توفر مقاعد دراسية لهم، بحسب قولهم.
الأطفال وأهاليهم النازحين يعانوا الأمرين في مخيمات مهملة ن توفر أبسط الخدمات مثل “الحمامات”. من المؤسف ان هذا ما يعاني منه جميع النازحين في جميع المخيمات التي صنعتها ومازالت تصنعها الحرب الدائرة في اليمن.
جداريتي، ضمن #حملة_حطام، عن “النازحين”، في مخيم ضروان للنازحين، 6 فبراير 2017.


“Children of Graves”

On the left side of the road leading to Amran governorate lays hundreds of “Displacement Camps”, in which people have been forced to leave their houses and lands and move to live in camps due to the war.
When I arrived with my friends to “Dharawan’s displacementl camp”, we were welcomed warmly by the residents of the camp. Afterwards, they had only one simple and basic request, and that is a school for their children to learn. They told me they couldn’t register the children in the schools in the surrounding areas because there isn’t any space for them.
The displaced people and their children lack access to the most basic services like “bathrooms” and clean water. It saddens me to see people living under these harsh conditions for an indefinite time. This is only a small taste of what the displaces endure today in the camps that were and are still being made by this war.
My mural about “Displaced people” in #Ruins_campaign, in Dharawan’s 
displacement camp,February 6, 2017.

Children of Graves
Children of Graves1
Children of Graves1

Murad Subay: Yemen’s war makes a month feel like a year\ By: KIERAN ETORIA-KING


Murad Subay: Yemen’s war makes a month feel like a year

The Index award winner talks about his fears of a possible escalation of the conflict in Yemen
03 Feb 2017

US president Donald Trump’s executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from travelling to the USA for has had devastating consequences for thousands of people. Among them is Index on Censorship Award winner Murad Subay. The Yemeni street artist is now unable to visit his wife, who is currently studying in the USA.

“It’s really frustrating to even start thinking that I won’t be able to see her for that long,” he told Index. “She was supposed to visit during summer break, however, it seems that she can’t do that now.”


With uncertainty surrounding how the Trump administration’s policy towards Yemen will play out, the couple are now facing the very real prospect of not seeing each other until she finishes her studies four years from now.

“It’s been a really difficult time for both of us because it’s the first time we’ve been away from each other for more than a month,” Subay said. “I can’t say that this doesn’t have its negative effects on my work, for it surely does.”

At home, the worries that have plagued Subay throughout the Obama administration remain, particularly Trump’s continuation – and possible escalation – of his predecessor’s drone strikes in Yemen, which by February 2016 had killed up to 729 Yemenis including 100 civilians. One rural counter-terrorism raid authorised by Trump has already left at least 10 women and children dead, according to Al-Jazeera.

2016 Freedom of Expression Fellow Murad Subay

Murad Subay is the 2016 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Arts Award-winner and fellow. His practice involves Yemenis in creating murals that protest the country’s civil war. Read more about Subay’s work.

“Trump has no right to make things even worse for Yemenis. Yemen is already suffering from US arms deals with Saudi Arabia that helped fuel this war. Barring Yemenis from entering the USA under his administration only adds to these troubles.”

The war has been hitting close to home for Subay in recent months. Two of his cousins were recruited by warring parties and killed on the battlefield. – Fuad Subay, aged 26, was a soldier killed in Albuka’a, and Yaser Subay, just 14, was recruited by Houthis and killed in Isilan.

On top of this, a close friend of his, the respected investigative journalist Mohammed Alabsi, was killed in an apparent assassination. According to the Yemen Times, Alabsi had gone out for dinner in Sana’a with a cousin on 20 December. A little while later both men were rushed to hospital, where Alabsi died.

“I was told that blood came out of his ears and eyes,” Subay said. “Mohammed was investigating the black markets trading in oil that were associated with high-ranking politicians. I do not know the exact details of this, but what I do know is that Yemen has lost one of its most important and noblest investigative journalists, and that I lost a dear friend.”

An investigation into Alabsi’s death is underway.

Subay addressed a recent wave of violence against civilians, including journalists and public figures, in a mural entitled Assassination’s Eye, painted on the Mathbah Bridge in Sana’a in late December. Part of the Ruins Campaign, the minimalist painting depicts a sniper’s crosshairs training in on a human target.

“It conveys the assassin’s point of view, where it first feels like it is only a part of training on how to hit a target, but then in the final square the bullet ends up in the head of a real person rather than a target board,” Subay explained. “These assassinations have spread vastly since 2012, where they were mostly carried out among the military ranks and politicians. Lately, however, these operations have been targeting civilians too. I was planning to address this issue some time ago after hearing about the assassinations of innocent civilians in different places of the country, and that was just two weeks before I was shocked by the death of my friend.”

Elsewhere, Subay has been asked to serve as a judge for the Italian arts award, Fax for Peace, which invites students and artists from around the world to send pictures, videos or animations on the themes of peace, tolerance, human rights and the fight against all forms of racism. He said of the role: “It is a great pleasure to be selected as a judge in this contest and it is a big responsibility, which I hope to be able to carry out effectively.”

However, with Yemen’s economic circumstances ever worsening, and many working people now into their fourth month without receiving salaries, he sees difficult times ahead.

“It’s very harsh to see people every day looking for anything to eat from garbage, waiting along with children in rows to get water from the public containers in the streets, or the ever increasing number of beggars in the streets. They are exhausted, as if it’s not enough that they had to go through all of the ugliness brought upon them by the war.”

Referring to the deaths of his cousins and his close friend, he added: “No one can live in this country and not be affected by the war. This all happened in the last three or four months. These events make a month in Yemen feel like a year.”

Continue reading “Murad Subay: Yemen’s war makes a month feel like a year\ By: KIERAN ETORIA-KING”

Yemen conflict all but ignored by the West\ On “DW”


Yemen conflict all but ignored by the West

Atrocities are being committed against an innocent Yemeni population on a scale as serious as Syria and Iraq. But why doesn’t this story get as much media attention as those conflicts? Gouri Sharma reports.

When the UN children’s rights organization UNICEF recently released a report stating that at least one child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen, the expectation was that the news would be picked up by international news outlets. But barring a few exceptions, including Al Jazeera and DW, the news was not carried by much of the global media prominently, and some not at all.


In its report, the humanitarian organization estimated that more than 400,000 Yemeni children are at risk of starvation, and a further 2.2 million are in need of urgent care. How could it be that statistics this alarming, the result of a war involving regional superpowers with the backing of the US and UK, does not make headline news?

But people close to the story say this example is just a reflection of how the war in Yemen is covered by the global media.

Yemen and the western media

It’s not that the conflict isn’t covered, but when it is, news outlets tend to focus on the ‘Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia versus the Shia Iran proxy war’ narrative which overlooks the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis.

Yemen, a country of 24 million people, has endured political strife for decades, but the situation worsened in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes with the aim of reinstating President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who had been ousted by the Houthi rebel group. The Houthis are said to be backed by Saudi Arabia’s regional political foe, Iran.

Since the bombing began, the UN estimates that more than 10,000 innocent people have been killed, 69 percent of the country is in need of humanitarian assistance, and three million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Wie die Medien über den Krieg im Yemen berichten (Murad Subay) Although atrocities are committed on a daily basis, the conflict in Yemen seems to have dropped off the radar

It’s a complex political situation and those closest to it – the local journalists – have been forced to stop telling the story because of the dangers they’ve been facing. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based press freedom watchdog, has recorded the deaths of at least six journalists caught in the crossfire since the start of the Saudi campaign. In its latest report, the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate said that more than 100 press violations were committed in the first six months of 2016, including 10 cases of attempted murder, 24 abductions and disappearances, and 12 cases of assaults on journalists and their offices. The situation for foreign journalists isn’t any better, amid reports that those who get access can be subject to harassment and kidnappings.

Afrah Nasser, an independent Yemeni journalist who is based in Sweden, told DW: “When western news outlets cover Yemen it’s often ‘parachute journalism.’ This is mainly because it’s been hard to access Yemen and if you want to get in you have to get permission from the Saudis and the Houthis. For foreign journalists, it’s become hell to enter or leave the country and a trip that used to take a few hours might now take days or even weeks.”

But Iraq and Syria, which has ranked as the world’s most dangerous place for journalists for at least two years in a row, are considered more difficult for journalists to report from than Yemen, yet both countries receive much more media coverage.

Syria, Iraq more ‘newsworthy’

Yemeni activists and journalists point to one other major factor as to why the country is kept lower down on news agendas. Many of the people attempting to get to Europe are from Syria and Iraq so western news audiences are more affected by the what’s happening in those countries than what’s happening in Yemen – news editors may not deem the war newsworthy enough for their audiences.

Watch video 05:27

Yemen’s forgotten war

“There isn’t a direct or immediate threat coming to western countries from Yemen,” Baraa Shiban, a London-based Yemeni human rights activist, tells DW. “There are no ‘waves’ of Yemeni refugees crossing the Mediterranean because it’s too far and if there are refugees they remain few in numbers. This is also related to the threat western countries feel they are facing. Dealing with the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) tops the list for western politicians. IS has claimed attacks inside Europe and such attacks could happen again. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been busy hitting inside Yemen – recently killing soldiers in Aden – but it’s limited in its ability to hit in Europe or the US.”

Coverage could also be affected by who is involved in Yemen – and who isn’t. “Any journalist or researcher who tries to dig deeper into the situation will see it’s a local conflict, especially when we talk about specific places like Taiz, a city in the south which has been living under siege for the past year and a half by forces loyal to the former president, along with the Houthi rebels who come from the north. If you compare that with the situation in Aleppo, you have Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. That’s a more interesting story with international and regional powers,” says Shiban.

The biggest known player involved in Yemen is Saudi Arabia, who has been carrying out its military campaign with arms brought from the US and Britain. In December, the US announced it would be halting an arms deal worth $350 million to the Kingdom amid concerns of the coalition’s indiscriminate bombing inside the country. But up until that point, President Obama had reportedly sold arms to the tune of $115 billion (107 billion euros) to Riyadh during his eight years in office – more than any US administration in history.

Wie die Medien über den Krieg im Yemen berichten (Murad Subay) Many local observers accuse western media and western governments of double standards when it comes to Yemen

Double standards

The UK, meanwhile, approved 3.3 billion pounds (3.7 billion euros) worth of arms to the Kingdom in the first 12 months of its bombardment of Yemen. So it may not make for good business sense for the corporate media in the US and the British mainstream media to cover a war and the negative impact it’s having on civilian life when their governments are making huge profits from it.

“If there is one country in the world that has the most gross double-standards, it’s the UK. As long as the Saudis are their ally, they can overlook any of atrocities committed by their friend. Yemenis’ blood means nothing when Saudi’s cash is on the table and if you’re a foreign journalist, some big media outlets won’t buy your story because they don’t want to annoy the Saudis,” says Nasser.

But amidst all the reasoning, the facts remain. Atrocities are still being committed against innocent people on a daily basis and a humanitarian crisis is worsening as millions of people lack basic food and water supplies.

Murad Subay, an internationally renowned Yemeni street artist who has been using his art to call for peace, says that the situation in Syria should serve as a warning. “What happened in Syria is an example of where the world ignored the crisis until it turned into catastrophic war. We as citizens of the world have a responsibility to pressure countries to stop engaging in Yemen’s war and to stop selling the arms that fuel it. People suffering in faraway places doesn’t make the rest of the world immune from it. People everywhere should care because it is the right thing to do, because what’s happening is wrong and inhumane.”

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‘Banksy’ van Jemen: met graffiti wil ik kogelgaten in muren verdoezelen


‘Banksy’ van Jemen: met graffiti wil ik kogelgaten in muren verdoezelen

Zondag, 10:00
Murad Subay
Geschreven door
Carmen Dorlo

redacteur NOS Online

Als je op straat loopt in Sanaa, de hoofdstad van Jemen, kun je niet om de kunstwerken van de ‘Banksy van Jemen’ heen. De gebouwen zijn misschien kapot door alle bombardementen, maar ze zijn niet lelijk: op de gevels staan nog de graffitikunstwerken van Murad Subay.

“Toen in 2011 de oorlog begon, brak dat vele harten”, vertelt Murad aan de NOS. “Maar niet alleen harten gingen kapot, ook huizen en straten. Op dat moment besloot ik de straat op te gaan en graffitikunst te gaan maken. Ik wilde het lelijke van de oorlog verdoezelen. De kogelgaten in de muur laten verdwijnen. Dat lukte me door de graffiti.”

In Jemen woedt al jaren een burgeroorlog. De NOS heeft contact met inwoners van het land, om een beeld te krijgen van de situatie in het land. Zij vertellen hun verhaal via WhatsApp, e-mail en Skype. Deze week spreken we met Murad Subay. Eerdere verhalen kwamen van Abdullah uit al-Mukalla, Fadia uit Taiz en Layla uit Sanaa.

Muhajed, Fadia en Murad in Jemen NOS

Sommige werken van Murad zijn puur artistiek, andere hebben een politieke lading. De artiest nodigt inwoners van Sanaa ook uit om te helpen bij de kunstwerken. “Zo kunnen de mensen hun stem laten horen en hun mening geven over de oorlog. Kunst is niet alleen entertainment, het kan voor zoveel meer dingen worden gebruikt. Kunst geeft een stem en zorgt voor communicatie, zeker als het zo duidelijk op straat te zien is.”


De 29-jarige Murad woont met zijn ouders, drie zussen en vier broers in een huis in Sanaa. Hij heeft Engels gestudeerd en haalde in 2012 zijn diploma.

“Ik begon met tekenen toen ik 13 was. Mijn ouders moedigden me aan en daardoor kon ik mezelf veel dingen leren. In 2012 maakte ik mijn eerste graffitiwerk en dat resulteerde in een campagne waardoor ik werken in heel Sanaa mocht maken.”

Dirty Legacy: graffitikunst van Murad Subay Murad Subay

De oorlog heeft veel veranderd, gaat hij verder. “Dat heeft zoveel effect op me. Op iedereen.” Murad noemt het tekort aan basisbenodigdheden als elektriciteit en water, en de economische gevolgen van de oorlog.

“Deze dingen hebben veel effect op mij persoonlijk, maar ook op mijn werk. Het is niet meer mogelijk om vrij te reizen in Jemen. Het is soms ook veel te gevaarlijk op straat om de werken te maken.”

De laatste tijd wordt het steeds moeilijker om onze mening te mogen uiten door middel van kunst.

Murad Subay

Murad zorgt altijd dat hij goedkeuring krijgt van de autoriteiten om graffiti te spuiten, maar ook dat gaat nu lastig. “De laatste tijd wordt het steeds moeilijker om onze mening te uiten door middel van kunst. Ook al heb ik toestemming, vrij graffiti spuiten wordt nauwelijks nog toegelaten.”

Death by Hunger and Disease: graffitikunst van Murad Subay Murad Subay

Murad heeft inmiddels zoveel roem in Jemen verworven, dat hij ook wel de ‘Banksy van Jemen’ wordt genoemd. “Banksy is een grote artiest, een genie. Mijn werk lijkt op dat van hem omdat we dezelfde techniek gebruiken. Maar de manier waarop we werken, is anders”, legt Murad uit.

“Ik wil zoveel mogelijk mensen betrekken bij mijn kunst. Als ik een kunstwerk maak en er lopen mensen langs, dan nodig ik ze altijd uit om me te helpen en hun mening te geven. Zo kunnen we een politieke discussie op gang brengen, op een niet-gewelddadige manier.”

Ik hoop dat het nieuwe jaar echt een nieuw jaar wordt. Het afgelopen jaar was zo vermoeiend.

Murad Subay

Na vijf jaar als graffiti-kunstenaar wacht Murad nog steeds op het hoogtepunt. “Ik hoop ook dat ik nog niet mijn mooiste werk heb gemaakt. Ik ben pas op het begin van mijn reis.”

Voor 2017 heeft hij maar één wens: “dat het écht een nieuw jaar wordt.” “Het afgelopen jaar heeft de wereld enorm vermoeid. We zijn er allemaal klaar mee.”

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Mural by: Rshid Qaid “The first” Ruins campaign


العالم يتسابق للصدارة في الجمال ويتسابقوا هنا في صدارة القبح.

“الاول” جدارية الفنان: رشيد قائد، ضمن #حملة_حطام، في نشاطها الحادي عشر حول قضية “الإغتيالات”، على جدار جسر مذبح، 29 ديسمبر 2016.
World racing to the forefront of the beauty and here they are racing for the top of ugliness.

“The first” mural by the artist: Rsheed Qaid, #Ruins_Campaign, in its 11th activity about “Assassinations”. On Mathbah bridge’s wall, Dec.29,2016.