Barno Heitmann: Every man has a dream [Archives:2007/1068/Culture]
For Yemen Times
German artist Barno Heitmann held a solo exhibition with the theme “Every Man Has a Dream” at Bab al-Yemen Gallery from June 28 to July 5.
Heitmann's pictures convey the importance of there being a strong attachment between the Creator and His creation. He stated, “God is like the father and we are His sons. If the relationship between the father and his sons is bad, the son never is able to talk with his father and express his pain.”
Each person has his own dream and vision in this life, something Heitmann tried to exemplify in the body of his work, particularly in the piece that bore the name of his exhibition's theme. “I symbolized in this picture Josef's dream. He dreamt of eleven planets as well as the sun and the moon prostrating to him. Then by the time his dream was achieved, Josef occupied a high position in his nation.”
The message Heitmann is eager to convey is that every body has a vision, but true fulfillment comes from God. “I like Josef's story very much, because this person had a dream and encountered hardship and then God elevated him to a high position.”
This story bares resemblance to Heitmann's life, therefore when asked about his dream, he refused to answer saying, “Josef's father warned his son against revealing his dream in order to avoid creating more enemies against him who would consequently try to prevent him from fulfilling his dream. We should work and trust in the fulfillment of God because the fulfillment may come in unexpected ways.”
Moreover, Heitmann's intention in sharing this story was to show that God does not have something against us; there is a purpose behind any hardship and trouble we face.
In another picture, Heitmann depicts Mariah Mountain which is located in Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Two events, according to him, took place in this mountain. The first event was with Abraham when he was commanded to slaughter his son as a sacrifice. Then the king came to him and gave him a sheep to sacrifice in his son's place. According to Heitmann, a similar story took place with Jesus when he was crucified to cleanse people of their sins, according to the Bible. Commenting on this piece, Heitmann stated, “The sheep was used to clean our sins, and Jesus was crucified for the same reason. I do not mean that Jesus is a sheep, but I used a sheep here as a symbol for the cleansing of people's sins.”
Heitmann revealed that this exhibit is the fifth in his career in Yemen. “The first one took place in 2000 at the Cultural Center in Sana'a. The second exhibit was at the Cultural Center in Hajja. The third was in Taiz, at the Hail Saeed Foundation,” he commented, adding, “I used to come to Yemen as a visitor, however, now I aim to remain for long since I don't have a limited period of time to stay.”
Heitmann's travels have exposed him to man's constant chase after material success in order to gain happiness. “I have traveled to 40 countries and I see how many are longing for honor, money and power to have the peace in their minds and happiness in their hearts. They think with such things they will have peace, but they will not hey become empty-hearted and addicted to drugs or alcohol.”
Heitmann is a lawyer by trade however he prefers to work as a volunteer at a Yemeni Swiss organization in Hajja. True happiness is not achieved from what you gain, but from what you give, therefore he likes to work in Hajja, an area populated with many people in need of creative and inspirational projects.
Calligraphy is another art in which Heitmann specializes, as he shared with us that “for two years, I studied the Arabic language in Jordan. Then, I began to buy some books that taught different calligraphic styles.” In his portraits, Heitmann incorporated some sentences written in Arabic calligraphy.
Reflecting on his decision to remain in Yemen, Heitmann shared, “The thing that most attracted me to Yemen is the people. They welcome the foreigners. Many Yemenis invited me to into their homes though I did not know them. They deal with us, as foreigners, humbly and I like that.”
Yemenis, as Heitmann described, are friendlier than other ethnic groups. “Many people from different Arab countries came to my exhibit. They came to take some pictures only and then left. They were not ready to listen to my explanation. Yemenis were the only ones who came and were interested in what I had to say.”