‘Butterflies Batch’ innovates unique style of painting on glass [Archives:2007/1070/Culture]

July 23 2007
Artists used new materials to make their alabasters more gorgeous.
Artists used new materials to make their alabasters more gorgeous.
Unique form and nominal price.
Unique form and nominal price.
Yemeni women with their traditional clothes painted on glass.
Yemeni women with their traditional clothes painted on glass.
Nisreen Shadad
Butterflies Batch, a group of 20 female artists who paint on glass, graduated from IMPACT Institute on June 5. After the graduation party, the artists held an exhibition in which they displayed and marketed their work. This type of project is the first of its kind in Yemen. “We gained the skills of such art by way of self-study,” said glass painting trainer Maisun Hussein.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Technical Education and Vocational Training, IMPACT Institute for Women's Development conducted a graduation ceremony and glass exhibition of the “Women Drawing Glass” diploma project funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Hala Al-Awlaqi, a graduating student said, “This exhibit is the effort of three months of studying and working. The program was not limited to drawing on glass only, but also to other skills such as administrative, financial and marketing training which will be conducted in order to help the women to be entrepreneurs and to start their own business.”

The purpose of the exhibit was to display the seriousness and value of such kind of projects. The representative of the Embassy of the Netherlands was very proud of and impressed by the exhibit and the graduated students. He referred to the pieces showcased at the exhibit as “art,” advising students that to create art, one needs an avenue of opportunity and IMPACT Institute provides that avenue. He added that he is very happy to be associated with such work and intends to support the marketing of student products.

Minister of Culture Abdul Kareem Al-Maflahi was pleased by the work he saw at the exhibit. “It is obvious through this exhibit that Yemeni women are capable to excel,” he stated, adding that training received thus far was merely the “beginning of the way” and that the real challenge would come after graduation.

The exhibition involved a variety of unique works, capturing the attention of visitors. “I am in the vein of the new styles of drawing,” said Ahlam Al-Ariqi, a professor at the College of Sociology. Although Al-Ariqi was interested in the showcased art, she did not purchase any of the pieces, stating, “Because they are glass, I can not save them.”

Traditional dancers, Mahdi al-Dahhas, and Faris al-Rashdi were amazed by the technique of producing such artwork. They were eager to learn more about the creation of such pieces, stating, “It is our first time to see drawing on glass.”

“Accuracy is what makes the artists' work distinctive,” said Salwa al-Mawri, a teacher of Arabic language. “We used to see normal portraits, but today we see more innovative works which take the form of vases as well as small alabasters.”

Suha al-Mawri, a plastic artist, stated that raw materials intervened, such as light-colored threads and beads. Many visitors said the price of such artwork is reasonable. “I think the painters spend a lot of money. The alabasters really deserve more,” said al-Mawri.

IMPACT Institute seeks to develop the skills and natural talent of Yemeni women via modern rehabilitation and capacity-building programs that will contribute to the development of Yemeni society.

Glass painting is one of IMPACT's projects that aim to increase women's earning potential. IMPACT ran two training courses in glass painting for 20 women, some of whom upon graduating started to paint their homes and sell their products, in the process increasing their income.

Glass painting enterprises offer administrative, financial and marketing training in order to help women become entrepreneurs and start their own businesses.