Yemeni Culture Distinguishes Yemeni Artists

National Yemen

By Tamjid Alkohali

Throughout the years, plastic art has been considered a way to reflect the culture of the homeland. Through it, people can recognize culture and civilization, either in the past or in the present.

Despite Yemeni artists being considered the least lucky artists in the world because of the bad situation of the country they live in, they are also very lucky with a beautiful environment and cultural heritage.

From the first moment when a Yemeni artist holds the brush to paint a painting, they reflect Yemeni cultural heritage.

Yemeni artist Nasser Al-Aswadi says, the cultural heritage of his homeland Yemen made him a different artist in France.

“The first time I traveled to France, I displayed my paintings that reflect historical places and traditions. People there admired my paintings and many decided to visit Yemen to see such civilization,” he said.

Despite Al-Aswadi’s different style of drawing today, he confirmed that his paintings aren’t free of Yemeni culture. “Life in France made me a very learned artist about the art around the world which affected my paintings indirectly. Now I have my own style which can reach people in Yemen and the world as well,” he added.

Yemeni artist Samar al-Aryani is very interested in drawing historical places and traditions in Yemen. According to Samar, Yemen looks like a very beautiful painting gallery.

“In every time I travel around Yemen, I wonder what I should borrow from this beautiful environment to paint,” she added.

The most prominent painting by Samar is a painting in which she has drawn a Yemeni women standing up among Yemeni traditional architecture and wearing traditional clothes called the Setarah.

The Setarah is a piece of cloth using for covering the woman’s body. It was worn by women in the past, especially in Sana’a.

Despite women having stopped wearing the Setarah these days, it is considered art due to its decoration and colors, which are present in the paintings of artists.

“I love drawing Yemeni women wearing the Setarah or silver. They have something distinctive that appears in the painting to make it beautiful and distinctive too.”

Another image that is drawn by many Yemeni artists is Dar al-Hajar, a historical palace dating back to the 18th century.

Majad al-Rody, an artist who has drawn Dar al-Hajar, explained his view of the historical place. He said the place has many meanings. From the gate of Dar al-Hajar, people can note the greatness of construction and that big tree which stands with confidence after 700 years.

“I can’t express my admiration for Dar al-Hajar. The only way to do that is to draw it in a painting and enjoy all the details,” he added.

Painting is considered the window from which artist express their feelings. The huge number of Dar al-Hajar paintings and the creativity in drawing it indicate its beauty and value.

Sahar, a young artist, explained her experience in an art exhibition in Dubai. “I presented about ten paintings. All of them showed historical sites in Yemen such as Bab al-Yemen, the Cisterns in Aden, and Al-Qahira Citadel in Taiz. People were very exitd to know more about these places by people who were very happy ask me multi questions for informative ideas.”

Sahar, who sold all her paintings at the exhibition, confirmed that if the security in Yemen was good, millions of people from around the world would visit Yemen every year.

In general, life in Yemen, its people, and archaeological sites such as castles, mosques, popular markets, and old Sana’a as well as beautiful nature make Yemeni artists distinguished inside and outside Yemen.