Local News

Constraints: New Art by Al-Alawi

By Tamjid Alkohali

Often, plastic art ignites many issues in the community. It makes people highlight and address international and local issues as well as develop observation, imagination, simulation, and thought.

One painting that has touched on a sensitive issue in Yemeni society is the painting of Thi Yazen al-Alawi named Constraints. It reflects the suffering of rural women in Yemen.

In his painting, Al-Alawi has drawn a woman wearing male traditional clothes, an Abaya, and a Janbiya. According to him, he chose the traditional clothes because the injustice comes only from the men who are with traditional mentality.

Al-Alawi hid the woman’s body under the clothes and tied her hands with the Janbiya, the thing that indicates that women’s freedom is imprisoned under the authority of masculinity.

The woman also wears a hat to signify rural women who work for long hours in the farm under the sunrays to help their husbands.

Despite of all these constraints and suffering, the woman in the painting seems very beautiful, bright and strong in her appearance.

According to al-Alawi, he was inspired after his visit to one of the Yemeni villages and watching the injustices experienced by women.

“Women are not a part of society; they are the basis of society and a symbol of beauty.” He continued, “however, women in Yemen are very marginalized and deprived even from the simplest rights such as naming their children, wearing what they want, choosing their future husbands, expressing their opinion, and many other things.”

Al-Alawi added that Yemeni women in general and rural women in particular suffer from poverty, illiteracy, and early marriage.

“In addition to all these injustices, women work hard,” he said.

Al-Alawi is a young Yemeni artist in the beginning of his artistic career. He is 19-years-old and is from Wosab village in Dhamar province.

Currently, he is a student in the Faculty of Literature and a main member in the campaigns to draw on the walls with artist Murad Subay that are now known all around the world.