African Color, Light & Thought in Al-Taib’s Works at Dia [Archives:2001/20/Last Page]
An African Color, an African light and an African thought, commented on by Dr. Sulaiman Ibrahim, teacher of Art Education at the High Institute, on the new collection of Al-Taib Al-Hajj Mohammed Ahmad, a Sudanese artist, at the exhibition organized by Dia organization at its office on 7-21 May.
Artists are the people most attached to their countries and homeland. This is really the first impression one gets as he looks at the drawings of Al-Taib. “I admire his respect for his environment, said Samirah Abdu Ali, a Yemeni artists and film director. The black characters and land dominating his works reflect how much he has been influenced by the African environment, the simple why of life, as well as the Africans’ love for nature. “Each work of mine deals with an issue of humanity,” he said.
Al-Taib Al-Hajj Mohammed Ahmad, a graduate of the College of Fine Arts- Al-Khartoum, has been working in Yemen as a painter and designer at the Center of Educational Aids at the Ministry of Education since 1986. The academic phase brought along with it more awareness and worries about the quality and morals of the work in contrast with the pre-college phase when he usually used to let his imagination to go as far as he wanted. Each artistic work of his must have a moral and esthetic value which is controlled by emotional as well as mental norms. “Artists should be aware of the high value and mission they want to convey,” he said adding that the good artist is the one who makes use of his/her expressive tools to highlight man’s issues so that works are not only a decoration that loses its values in the course of time. “Every single work he does tells a story of the African man,” said Abdul Wase’e Mohammed Al-Olofi .
He does not agree with artists who confuse the spectaculars with a lot of ambiguous lines and colors. However, he also blames the audiences for being not educated enough to understand what is beyond the colors of the artist’s work. “Sometimes the artist works reflect his/her psychological, social, status, the surroundings and his/her ambitions.,” he said. So it is easy to go deeper into the inside of the artists through his/her works, he added.
During his long stay in Yemen, he has captured many typical Yemeni issues such as Jinbias, ancient wooden doors and windows of Sana’a Al-Qadimah, etc. Unlike many artists who have drawn the Jinbia, Al-Taib has given it a special touch by making it a living thing in the shape of a mermaid, and so on. This is true for of the sole and group exhibitions he has held in and outside Yemen. Speaking highly about the collection Mr. Girard Marcinak, Secretary General of the French Cultural Institute, remarked: “In each exhibition he has a different style.”
Presently he has volunteered to train a group of young artists at the Dia office, along with his college Yassin Ghalib, a Yemeni artist and engineer. The course aims at training the students on how to deal with color technology. Most of the trainees are engineering and media students. The course also includes lectures on esthetics, colors and other tools used by the artist. In his lectures, Al-Taib urges his trainees to depict the Yemeni patrimony out of fear that someday such pictures would disappear. It was wonderful seeing a number of works by the trainees which included drawings of ancient wooden doors, Mashrabias, etc. One of the future projects of his is to organize an exhibition for such drawings.
Dia has recently launched a web site dedicated to the presentation of Yemeni arts and artists to the world. “The project includes presenting the Yemeni artists and their works to the whole world,” said Rami S. Al-Ghazali, IT Manager at Dia. Works and details of Yemeni artists will be available beforehand through the search facility the site offers. Furthermore the site introduces important information about, and, a collection of pictures of the Yemeni cities for all tourists or people interested in the Yemen.
Mr. Rami expressed hopes that the project would be complete in the near future once it gets the necessary financing. He also hopes that the finance will come from Yemeni companies which understand the importance and significance of such a project. The site was kicked off last month and can be reached at www.yemenarts.org.ye