Artist in UK brings pride to Yemen [Archives:2003/664/Reportage]

September 1 2003
Photo from archived article: photos/664/report1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/664/report1_1
A review by Val Burton
This first solo Exhibition in the UK of a Yemeni artist has taken place on May 30 in London. Kamal Makrami had his 'invitation only' opening on Friday 30th May where a number of members of local business and art organisations were invited to a private viewing before the exhibition began for the general public.
The exhibition featured the artist's oil on canvas work which evokes a response to the form and colour of each piece. It was advertised as: – an exhibition which explores all human emotions through the eyes of an artist from Yemen. He said, “For me art is an expression of myself and enables me to have dialogue with the audience.”
The figures in his work are full of emotion, each piece saying something about the human state and leaves one to 'figure out' the meaning for oneself – it's uniqueness being that everyone will see something different. Colour and line are used dynamically to express shape and form producing figures in a contemporary style. His changing style reflects his own upheavals and changing lifestyle and everyone can empathize with the characters. Those who had the privilege of being at the opening were certainly challenged by the dynamic style and colour which was in stark contrast to the simplicity of the surroundings. A number of pieces were particularly popular: – including 'Whisper, Whisper' – a piece that looks like a stained glass window usually associated with religious dwellings but the content of which is more about the deceit of human nature;' Free Spirit '- a depiction of someone throwing off the constraints of a life of oppression and 'Out of the Depths '- a particularly strong piece, the figure looking as if he is moulded from solid rock and trying to prise himself out. Everyone had their own view of each piece and all were challenged to think about life in general, themselves and others in a new way. To meet with an artist of such strong work and to talk with him about his own views and why his work has changed in the way that it has was also a privilege that few will forget. The pre-exhibition writing also said it was – A thought provoking and challenging exhibition. For those of us who were there – it certainly was. The exhibition was from Saturday May 31st – Saturday 14th June but owing to the popularity of the artist it was extended a further two weeks during which time he held a drawing workshop for a local training group. Comments included – 'Love the colours along with the emotions – works so well, made me feel warm and made me smile.'; 'What an enjoyable afternoon! Stirred up many emotion/feelings – thank you so much; a vibrant and unique display of images; Very interesting, vibrant and colourful work. I've enjoyed the work and hope to see more. Each piece tells something different and makes me really think. Thank you for sharing your work with me. The success of the exhibition can be seen through the comments of those who attended the fact that it was extended by two weeks and that a number of pieces were sold. I'm sure the artist will go from strength to strength in the UK and that this is the 1st of many solo exhibitions for him.