A Talented Yemeni Ceramist Passed Away [Archives:2001/30/Culture]

July 23 2001

Abduh Nagi is a Yemeni citizen. His wonderful portraits favorably impressed by painting lovers. How did he become a shepherd and one of the most famous ceramists in Britain? The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph chose him as one of the best ten ceramists on the list the talented ceramists in the UK. Al-Hayat newspaper published in London said “Abduh Nagi is a brilliant example of the victory of talented people and at the same time he was a flagrant example of the destiny of the Arab painter in such a time. But who is this Abduh Nagi who filled the British museums and art galleries with his ceramic symphonies as he was described by one of the British critics? What’s his real story!? How did he start his work? How did he reach to the world of fame and success in Britain while he was completely forgotten by Yemenis as well as by his Arab World? We met Abduh Nagi’s brother, Saeed Nagi who told us about Abduh’s biography and his struggle in life: he was born in Jibla, Ibb province. He lived a simple life in his childhood. When he was eighteen he worked as a shepherd in his original home. He started his job on engravings on stones and cutting layers of mud and dried it for building. When he was twelve he sold clothes and jewelry in one of the neighboring markets. In one of his journeys, he was acquainted with Nadia, the girl whom he loved too much. For this reason he traveled to Aden for work with British family during the British occupation of Aden. His acquaintance with the Britishers there made him fully conversant with English literature and culture. Then he married Nadia and traveled alone to UK in 1967. In 1970 he came back to Yemen to take his wife with him. He joined a university where he studied Art and Painting. He was majoring in Ceramics. After that he studied a pottery in Middlesix University. After his graduation, he taught at the same university. He devoted himself to his works and exhibitions. He held more than one exhibitions in London and became one of the most famous ceramists in Britain. The British newspaper ” Al-Hyat” mentioned that in a view of his copious productions, the British museums and the European art galleries gain the possession of his paintings and joined permanently five parts of the most beautiful paintings to its museums. His paintings were also distributed to National European Museums. He was granted a certificate of merit and prizes and also he was greatly admired by all people in Britain while here in Yemen nobody knows even where he is or what he has done. Yemenis in general are soaring birds if they travel abroad. They are not only clever but also men of genius. Abduh Nagi passed away leaving behind him rich works which will stand as a testimony for the intelligence of the Yemeni people. The baffling question is why are we as Arabs don’t take care of our talented people. What will happen if the talented artist Abduh Nagi lived in Jebla or the international champion boxer Naseem in Rada’a. I wonder what a miserable future would they have if they had stayed here in Yemen.