Yemeni Graffiti Artist Capturing War Imprints

Posted: 12/08/2015 3:28 pm EST Updated: 12/08/2015 3:59 pm EST

For many, Yemen war is a forgotten one. Nonetheless, aspects of Yemen war are meant not to be forgotten for Yemeni graffiti artist, 28, Murad Subay who believes walls shall represent accounts of warfare. In the wake of Yemen’s 2011 uprising, as he utilized his art to reflect the political and social concerns of that phase, Murad has been regarded as a revolutionary artist-perhaps the first Yemeni political graffiti artist of his kind in Yemen’s contemporary history. Today, determined to continue his artwork, and in light of Yemen war, Murad Subay continues to shed light on the human cost of the war, which could make him to be regarded as a war artist.

As of 16 October, health facilities in Yemen had reported 32,307 casualties (including 5,604 deaths) – an average of 153 injuries or deaths every day, according to a UN report.

Murad was compelled to create a visual account of that destruction of human lives. ‘Ruins’ is the title of his latest art work intended to depict the impact of the war by commemorating war victims across Yemen. ‘Ruins’ was initiated in May, 2015 in Sana’a, aiming to leave graffiti paintings on what’s left of the destroyed houses by the bombings. One of his outstanding graffiti art is when Murad beautifully commemorated 15 children killed in Bani Hawwat area, in Sana’a, where air strikes destroyed more than seven houses. Murad painted 15 children faces on the wall of what’s left of the destroyed house. Another 27 civilians were killed as well in that attack.


In our email correspondence, Murad told me that he doesn’t want to focus only on his town of residence, Sana’a. He tried to visit the war-torn Taiz city and paint. He managed to paint at Hoban area, then when he tried to paint in further areas in Taiz, he was denied to enter to the heart of the city by one of the warring parties. When I asked who exactly denied him, he prefered not to disclose further information. I expect that is so for his own security. Murad did not let that stop him; he went back to Sana’a and continued painting.


The painting process usually takes place with the help of a number of Murad’s friends and even with the help with strange people who happen to pass by and feel interested in what’s been done. Even though Murad has been occasionally harassed by different officials in power for the work he does, he praises greatly the support he has been getting from the Yemeni society – ‘that’s the main thing that keeps me going since 2012,’ he tells me. Murad believes that the significance of graffiti art lies in its power in reflecting a society’s concerns better than words.


Murad’s experience with graffiti has began since 2011 with his consecutive art campaigns which include; ‘The Walls Remember Their Faces‘, ‘Colour the Walls of Your Street’ and today’s ‘the Ruins’. Nonetheless, Murad is thirsty to dig more into graffiti art and seeks to improve his knowledge about art academically. He hopes to study it further in the near future.


Murad is not just another graffiti artist; who’s being dubbed as ‘The Banksy of Yemen.’ Murad is a rare humanist voice in an extreme polarized political scene in Yemen. It’s been remarkable the audacity his art has in depicting Yemen’s critical political and social issues following Yemen’s 2011 uprising till the ongoing conflict. Given the growing political division among the nation influenced by the multi-layered conflict in Yemen, it’s been hard to find a voice that can reflect the humanism of the situation; speaking about the killing and bloodshed of all sides, regardless of who fired the bullets first. Murad’s art doesn’t only express Yemeni people’s pain but it also revives a sense of humanity that’s suffocated by massive injustices.

Essay’s Link..

“العربي الجديد”/اليمني مراد سبيع يقطف جائزة “الفن من أجل السلام”


االيمني مراد سبيع يقطف جائزة "الفن من أجل السلام"

اليمني مراد سبيع يقطف جائزة “الفن من أجل السلام”

صنعاء ــ العربي الجديد

1 مايو 2014

فاز الرسام اليمني مراد سبيع بجائزة “الفن من أجل السلام” التي تمنحها مؤسسة “فيرونيزي” الإيطالية، على هامش “المؤتمر العالمي السادس للسلام”، والذي سيقام في مدينة ميلان يوم 14 نوفمبر/تشرين الثاني هذا العام.

وقالت المؤسسة في موقعها على الانترنت إن الجائزة تمنح لمن تبرز مواهبهم الفنية من أجل السلام، ومُنحت الجائزة لسبيع على أعماله الفنية التي تظهر حقوق السكان المدنيين في وجه الهجمات الإرهابية.

وكان الرسام مراد سبيع قد أطلق مع عدد من الرسامين حملة رسوم على الجدران في صنعاء تدعو إلى نبذ العنف والسلاح، وأبرز فيها العديد من القضايا، كقضية المخفيين قسراً والمتضررين بالأعمال الإرهابية والاغتيالات.. إلى غير ذلك من الرسوم التي أصبحت تزين شوارع العاصمة وجدرانها.

وقال مراد سبيع في تعليق على الجائزة في منشور بصفحته على موقع التواصل الاجتماعي: “أشكر المؤسسة على هذا التكريم الذي أعتبره تكريماً لليمن واليمنيين، وأخص أصدقائي وكل من شارك في حملات الرسم على الجدران “12 ساعة، الجدران تتذكر وجوههم، و لون جدار شارعك”، الذين كانوا السبب الرئيسي في نجاح الحملات”.

رابط الموضوع..


جائزة “الفن من أجل السلام” للعام 2014

سعيد لمعرفتي بمنحي جائزة “الفن من أجل السلام” من قبل مؤسسة “فيرونيزي” الإيطالية، على هامش “المؤتمر العالمي السادس للسلام”، والذي سيقام في مدينة ميلان يوم 14 نوفمبر هذا العام.

وقد منحت الجائزة في السنوات السابقة إلى: 
المغنية “فاتو”
الكاتب “ديفيد جروسمان”
المصور” جواو سيلفا”
المخرج والممثل “كسافيير بيوفوا”
المايستروا الموسيقي “دانيال بارينبويم”

أشكر المؤسسة على هذا التكريم الذي أعتبره تكريما لليمن واليمنيين وأخص أصدقائي وكل من شارك في حملات الرسم على الجدران “12 ساعة، الجدران تتذكر وجوههم، و لون جدار شارعك”، الذين كانوا السبب الرئيسي في نجاح الحملات.

I am delighted to know that I have been chosen to receive the “Art For Peace Award” for the year 2014, which is given annually to artists around the global by the Italian Foundation “Veronesi”.
I will be receiving the Award in Milan City, Italy, on November 14, at the 6Th International Conference For Peace. This Award had been received over the years by the Following artists:
Fatou “singer”
David Grossman “Author”
João Silva “Photographer”
Xavier Beauvois “Film actor and director”
Daniel Barenboim “Pianist”
I want to thank the “Veronesi” Foundation for honoring me with this Award. By honoring me, they are honoring Yemen and Yemenis, especially my friends and everybody ever participated in the artistic campaigns “12Hours, The Walls Remember Their faces and Color your street’s wall” who are the main reason for the success of these campaigns