Al-Magrami: Lots of Art With Zero Support ‏

National Yemen

By Tamjid Alkohali

Shihab Al-Magrami one of the few artists who struggles to make people happy every day by capturing their faces in portraits. Every day, a new international or local famous face is published on his Facebook page. However, for a long time, Al-Magrami’s new creations were only found on Facebook.

Al-Magrami has a lot of creative work, he is waiting for the right time to hold his own exhibition to show his latest work.

“I’m very satisfied with displaying my paintings on Facebook and Instagram. Social media is an inexpensive way, while live shows need money and support. If my living situation was better, I would have exhibitions for other Yemenis.”

Al-Magrami revealed that right now he is preparing oil paintings of the great Yemeni poet Abdullah Al-Berdawni and the great singer Ayoub Tarish.

“A long time ago I used a pencil in my drawings, but now I try to use other techniques such as oil colors, coal, and soft pastels. The problem is with financial ability, which prevents me from implementing many ideas, especially expensive ones.”

Beside his paintings on Facebook, Al-Magrami publishes rare photos of Yemen or other countries that indicate different cultures or different issues.

Thousands of friends on his Facebook page either from Yemen or abroad comment or share his rare photos.

“My interest in photos comes from my job as a news director. This job made me interested in the quality of the image, form and content.” Said he.

Al-Magrami used to work as a news director for Al-Seyassah newspaper, which one of  Saba agency publication. However, once the Saba agency closed, he became jobless and he shift into faces painting to meet the daily living needs.

Despite the personal and professional suffering, Al-Magrami has faced in his life, he is an optimistic, funny, and flexible person.

Shihab or Shahboob as his fans call him, is from Al-Hejaryah in Taiz and lives in Sana’a. He has many important artworks in the plastic world. The most famous is the painting titled “Shihab’s Memory,” which includes 300 faces of influential people around the world including politicians, scientists, intellectuals, writers, journalists, athletes, actors, singers, and others. According to Al-Magrami, this painting includes goblins and angels with wicked and good people.

His book titled “Pencil Faces” includes more than 1,000 faces, and he wrote a deep and meaningful introduction to the book.  He also painted about 150 faces of martyrs of the 2011 revolution in a painting titled “The Redemption Epic.” However, this time the painting was not with a pencil; Almagrami used colors to embody the smell of blood and the greatness of the revolution.