By Tamjid Alkohali
On the 18th of February, 2014, at Tahrir Square in Sana’a, the events of the Open Cultural Day were launched by the Saba institution for Cultural Development. The day consisted of many events, with one in particular being very strange. Causing an uproar on the street and among the media, the Cartoonist Mazin Shuga’a Aldeen made a deranged mental man open his exhibition on the street.
Shuga’a Aldeen, who publishes his Karkter through many newspapers said, “that was the idea of the manager of the Saba institution for Cultural Development, Mohammed al-Kaud. He came to me and suggested timidly to make a deranged mental man open my exhibition instead of any official. Without any hesitation, I replied,” sounds good”.
Shuga’a Aldeen explained that he knew the secret behind this plan, but from his side he liked the simplicity of the idea, where this would be the first exhibition for him on the street.
“The situation was different, people remained to watch the paintings all day, a few people visited the exhibit within the first hours then the artist found himself alone with his paintings.” Shuga’a Aldeen continued “through this experience, I realized that art does not need an official, but needs simple people who really are aware of the meaning of artwork.”
From Shuga’a Aldeen’s point of view the artists in general need to exchange the experiences through the institutes, private schools and universities that specialize in art for its different forms, but unfortunately, we are in Yemen and there is a lack for these places to gather the artists and help them in improving themselves.
Shuga’a Aldeen then added that he still remembers the course he studied for a month in an atelier in 2001. The course helped him with his artistic career, so what about if he studied in a university, of course his situation would be different.
Shuga’a Aldeen said that he still feels dissatisfied with himself, because he believes that there is more that he can do, but the financial situation and the lack of interest of the concerned authorities delay the emergence of most artists in Yemen, only those whom travel abroad have a chance to shine.
However, Shuga’a Aldeen said that he is optimistic with the system of regions, because he thinks that the issues of the country would minimalize and then there would be time to care on the art and artists as well.
Many people have attended the Open Cultural Day. They watched varied events through the morning to the evening. They showed their admiration of all the events in general and for the way in which Shuga’a Aldeen opened his exhibition particularly.
Ahmed Dawood a citizen attending the Open Cultural Day said that no wonder an artist choose a deranged mental man to open his exhibition in the street, because artist do not get any support and encouragement from the Culture ministry, or even the government although there are many creators and artists, but they remain in darkness.
The deranged mental man who claims to be president of the republic has cut the opening ribbon, and delivered a speech to all the people in random near the culture ministry at Tahrir Square. The people clapped for him and showed their admiration for the idea.