Artist Asma al-Shaibani to Yemen Times:Whatever I create does not satisfy me [Archives:2005/851/Culture]

June 16 2005
Photo from archived article: photos/851/culture2_1
Photo from archived article: photos/851/culture2_1
Interviewed by Salem al-Majeedi
Yemen Times Staff
Taiz Bureau

A plastic artist of a new brand while skillfully manipulating colors and words. The secret of her creativity is her looking for no-easy ways. She does not model her paintings after conventional works. She has decided to work with glass drawing by painting on glass panes while adding beats of her heart and touches of her transparent spirit. The intricacy of such kind of art is the secret of her success.

Besides her being a color artist, she is also a word artist who has made plausible poetic attempts. She speaks smoothly with a good literary background. This artist is Asma Abdul-Malik al-Shaibani. We endeavored to penetrate into her world by seizing the opportunity of her show at al-Sa'eed Cultural Foundation. We gleaned the following conversation:

Q: Could you introduce to us Asma al-Shaibani?

A: I am a Yemeni girl who adored color so much that it bewitched her, embraced glass that it captured her and bestowed on her spirit into glass, that glass gave back its transparency and smoothness. I was born in 1977. I am a programming diploma holder from the University of Science and Technology.

Q: When did you start drawing and feel the intimacy with the brush?

A: I started young. I used the brush when I was eight but my special inclination towards color is older.

Q: Why did you choose glass drawing, what makes such a mode distinctive?

A: Probably because the Prophet (peace be upon him) described women as “glass bottles.” I found myself sharing many aspects with glass. I felt it was as fragile as my small heart and as transparent as my spirit. Despite its fragility, glass is durable combing smoothness and hardness. Imagine then a mixture of colored segments traveling into an unlimited horizon. Drawing on glass is by itself a self-renewing challenge to oneself: whatever you create remains unsatisfactory; the door remains wide open inviting you for more creation. This type of art requires a good deal of patience, ability to imagine and quick action.

Q: How can you control colors and paste them on glass, which colors do you like most?

A: First of all I frame the shape I want to draw using lining paste. When it is completely dry, I fill internal spaces with glass paints.

I find myself hesitant regarding the colors to choose. My color choice differs according to the mental state I undergo at the time of drawing. Generally I feel attracted to brown with its dust and rocks, the blue with its sea and sky, and darkness overpowers all.

Q: There are many schools of art around the world such as realism, romanticism, and fantasia. Examining your works, can I say that you are a realist?

A: You are not wrong. This entire cocktail belongs to the realistic school. Yet, I don't belong to a one particular school. Sometimes, I get drifted by fancy creating the madness of colors, other times I sink in realism to draw flowers that please fragrance, and at times I strip the natural scene off its appearance to reach what is beyond the limits of shape and color. All this depends on my mental state

Q: When do you feel that you only want to talk to the brush and colors, and that they are more able to understand you?

A: When I cannot write and when there is nobody who can understand my words.

Q: Who encourages you to improve this talent?

A: The first person to encourage me was my late father (may God bless him). He provided me with what I needed to take this talent into advanced levels since early in my childhood. Second comes my mother who bore many troubles, then my brothers and some friends of mine.

Q: Who suggested to organize a show for you at al-Sa'eed Foundation, and who introduced you as a creative girl? Do you have previous participations?

A: I cherished the idea for a period of time but hesitation is detrimental. It was by chance that I met with Ahmed Sa'eed Thabet, Deputy Director of Taiz Endowments Office, who admired my works and encouraged me. He suggested to Faisal Sa'eed Fare' organizing a show who responded positively and showed interest in the idea.

Earlier I used to participate in scholastic functions and competitions.

Q: Do you intend to be a professional artist through academic studies or you want it to remain as a hobby?

A: Of course I have thought much of this matter. However, conditions now do not allow me to continue with my studies but they do not obstruct me to visit shows and exhibitions to know the new trends in this art either via media means, internet or by attending local events.

Q: How many paintings were sold at the exhibition?

A: Most of the displayed paintings have been sold at prices meant to show encouragement and support rather than an estimation of the works. However, I promise all sponsors to continue until I reach a level that makes them take pride that they once gave me a hand.

Q: Do you have a last comment?

A: My last words are addressed to the plastic artists, culture custodians and youth. I ask them: When will we ever get a house of arts where we can gather, exchange experiences, and disseminate ideas; a house that would open its doors in order to pass on the culture of color and joy of drawing to the coming generation? When?” Thank you for your interest.