AMNA’S SYMBOLIC ART [Archives:1998/12/Last Page]

March 23 1998

Amna Al-Noseiri is a graduate from Sana’a University, the Faculty of Philosophy. She got a Masters in Art Aesthetics from Moscow. and is now a specialist in aesthetics in the Department of Philosophy, Sanaa University. She also writes several reports and critiques about the arts in some Arabic and national journals. Her master’s thesis discussed the symbolic features in all of the traditional plastic arts present in Yemen and in the Arab world.
I met the artist at her second exhibition held at Al-Afif cultural centre. The artist does not follow any particular school but always concentrates upon symbolism in the plastic arts, and especially likes to incorporate traditional elements. “In my opinion, symbolism is an embodiment of many ideas and beliefs that man holds”, she has said.
On the other hand, she tries to present Yemeni tradition differently. She sees that many artists today think that folkloric art is old-fashioned. On the contrary, she believes that tradition is the real source of today’s art. In the artist’s opinion, all of what is being expressed in Yemeni art is that artists continue to apply their own past philosophical and theoretical beliefs. For this reason she feels that she has to improve the way people think of tradition in Yemen and in the Arab world. “People”, she says “should have a more modern approach to the expression of traditional art forms.”
It is not for the purpose of symbolizing particular ideas that she uses white and black backgrounds in some of her paintings. They are just natural opposites and she believes that an artist must be totally free in painting. She feels that the artist should be free of rules. “I like to incorporate one style and then change over to another without a set plan”, she has said.
Through her paintings, she makes an attempt to represent the material world with a subliminal symbolism; she thinks that man is so integrated with the material world that he and the things he lives with are a part of it. So she often employs animals and other things to represent the reality of living. Therefore, the artist is assured that man is not the only center of interest in this universe. There are many things, animate and inanimate, that make up the universe. Man alone, of course, cannot exist.
Everything that appears in her paintings represents the elements belonging to our daily lives. She likes to unify these elements to symbolize the solidarity of everything that was created and the sense of oneness or unity of this universe. And yet there is a great deal of obscurity concerning how living things on this earth are related to certain symbols. “Some traditional items may be represented aesthetically, but you cannot really understand their symbolic and ideological origin”, the artist admits. Besides using these traditional symbols, the artist also reckons that they have some great aesthetic values which cannot be denied.
Martin Dansky/Yemen Times