By Tamjid al-Kohali
A picture from a normal environment moves to her endless imagination, then her brush begins mixing with her senses and feelings to embody that picture in a painting. This painting seems as if it will speak because of its deep meaning and accuracy. This is like all the paintings of Yemeni artist Sahara Hassan Al-Loutha’ai, who belongs to Sanhan Village. Now she lives in Sana’a, where she studies at Sana’a University- Faculty of Languages- and works at Tadhamon International Islamic Bank. Al-Loutha’ai doesn’t study art, but her sense of beauty and her positive view of things around her allow her to produce many paintings as if she is a master of art.
Since her childhood, Al-Loutha’ai’s talent in drawing was evident while she was drawing different shapes like flowers, trees, birds, and all kinds of simple things on walls and in notebooks. Al-Loutha’ai spent her first four years of primary school in France, and this was a strong reason for realizing her talent in drawing. Her teacher took drawings to show her parents and to tell them that their daughter was good in drawing. When her parents realized her talent they began supporting her.
Even after Al-Loutha’ai returned to her homeland, Yemen, her love for drawing continued more and more. Her best class in school was art. She was drawing cartoons and anything in front of her accurately. Her parents realized that their daughter had a strong memory that allowed her to draw everything she saw, so they encouraged her all the time and provided her with all the requirements of drawing.
Today Al-Loutha’ai says that she can’t forget the details of anyone’s face who encouraged her in her childhood and she will never forget all the positive words which were the main reason she developed her talent. Al-Loutha’ai believes that drawing isn’t acquired by studying, but develops through it. So she took one course for a few weeks with the famous Yemeni artist Adnan Juman where she learned more about techniques that are used for drawing.
Al-Loutha’ai’s paintings are different and don’t show one style. She uses different kinds of techniques such as dotting using a special pencil with different sizes. This technique won her many exhibitions. She also uses oil paints, pencil colors, coal, and knife blows, but she rarely uses watercolors.
During her artistic life, Al-Loutha’ai has supported herself with these techniques despite their high cost, because she thinks that real happiness is doing what you love, and drawing paintings is real happiness for her. By painting, she can express everything inside her.
Al-Loutha’ai isn’t affected by other artists’ styles or a specific style of art whether they are local or international styles. Even her aunt, who is a professional in drawing and spends a lot of time watching her drawing and who has taught her many things about drawing, didn’t have a strong effect on her, because Al-Loutha’ai believes that a good artist who paints according to their heart and honest feelings to make their paintings can reach viewers’ hearts. On the other hand, Al-Loutha’ai likes to follow and read news about the local and international art and artists through the media.
Moreover, an artist’s paintings reflect their views and beliefs, and always there is a story behind each painting. Al-Loutha’ai’s paintings carry different stories inside them: political, social and emotional. One of Al-Loutha’ai’s paintings highlights the importance of the intellectual and emotional compatibility between men and women in marriage, though most couples don’t care about this compatibility in practice. They choose each other randomly. Therefore, they feel deficient inside and they try to fill this deficiency by being far away from each other. Because of this, family problems start which may lead to divorce.
In 2011, all of Al-Loutha’ai’s paintings related to the political situation and the youth revolution against the former regime. One of her paintings at that time explained that the main reason behind all the problems in Yemen is ignorance. Other paintings talk about the restrictions created by customs, traditions, family and society and how they impede women from achieving their dreams.
Al-Loutha’ai began displaying her paintings in many local exhibitions. She participated in a cultural competition and received the second prize. She also participated with 83 Yemeni participants in the Talent Sea competition sponsored by the U.S, and she became one of the six finalists in the contest. In addition, she did her own exhibitions with her friends at the Yemeni house for music. Her most recent participation was in an exhibition in Dubai a few weeks ago. Al-Loutha’ai also participated with handicrafts and was very successful.
Al-Loutha’ai recognizes the encouragement that she received was from the outside more than the inside. For example, when she travelled to Dubai to take part in the exhibition, she was affected by people who really feel interested in the arts. They consider art an important part of their lives, unlike most people in Yemen who see it as some lines and silly things with colors. In fact, she neither blames people nor the government for their view towards art because they are preoccupied acquiring the necessities of life, she said.
Al-Loutha’ai find herself known among small circle of artists in Yemen with nothing bringing them together. Art in Yemen seems absent. She feels optimistic when people ask her about her new work. Art is a part of her life, it’s her shelter, and she will never leave it.