Craftsmen can bring in cash, especially in 2004Yemen’s culture has economic potential [Archives:2004/707/Business & Economy]

January 29 2004

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The economic dimension of Sana'a, which is named capital of the Arab culture in 2004, is not confined to what he old city treasures and the sight of fire melting iron and moulds silver or gold, or the hands forming maquettes and historical statutes, but also in activating professional, artist and creative works of economic feasibility in all areas of Yemen.
The Yemeni plastic artist Shawqi Ali has succeeded in creating a new genre in painting his pictures on shark skin, and will exhibit some of his works in the general exhibition of art to be held in Sana'a in the context of its activities as capital of the Arab culture.
Samples of artist Shawqi works contain natural, heritage and historical landscapes and his paintings on sharks skins have received admiration of his colleagues in Aden and it is an idea of economic use. They can be sold for good sums of money. There would be also other paintings for other creative artists to be exhibited for marketing .
In old Sana'a there is the National Center for Art and a Center for Information and Bab al-Yemen Hall for Plastic Art. These centers are run by a number of Yemeni creative personalities who promote for the heritage and historical landmarks as they have great tourist and economic value.
The occasion of Sana'a, capital of Arab culture, opens many opportunities for those working in handicrafts and textilles made of folklore cloth for increasing their production for marketing on old Sana'a markets that are specialized in promotion of these products that come from other governorates. Owner of a shop selling Yemeni agate Ali al-A'nsi says we have been keen this year to bring more worked products of local agate fitted with natural floral stones to face the increasing demand for them by Arab and foreign tourists, and this would be profitable to tens of families specialized in producing agate fro many Yemeni areas most reputable is the governorate of Dhamr.
The occasion also blends the originality in manufacturing the Jambias and the white dagger as many families are specialized in this industry. The work is distributed among the members of the individual family.
The hilt, the more important part of the Jambia, made by expert people and is made of the horn of rhinos that is imported from Africa ceros south , or the horn of cows or of karak wood. The price of a Jambia depends on the kind of the hilt. Another member of the family would be specialised in making the blade that is made of iron and then it is smoothed and burnished. The regions of Dhamar, Hadramout, is reputed of making it Baihan and Rada' are.
Women usually take part in making the belt of Jambia with embroidering it with colourful formations, using silk, leather and golden threads.
Mohammed Ali al-Matari, a specialised in making Jambias affirms that acivities of Sana'a capital of Arab culture require from us to increase prduction of Jambias by 75% compared to last year as it is expected to have more demand for the Jambias as a folklore heritage. The demand would be met marketing great numbers of them from many areas to old Sana'a areas and this would be positively reflected on income of families working in this popular industry.
Other Yemeni areas would contribute to increasing production of earthenware, leather shoes and handmade folklore ornaments. The economic dimension of Sana'a capital of Arab culture can be felt in providing work opportunities for the unemployed who would work at tourist restaurants and hotels where visitors would live. The capital secreariat has on the other hand allowed the peddlers to sell handicrafts in old Sana'a and outside it.
The tourist agencies have prepared means of transport for local, Arab and foreign tourists and provided services compatible with the occasion in anticipation of making for the losses they have sustained during the past two years following the events of 11 September in the United States.
Sana'a on this occasion would provide thousands of wok opportunities for handcraftsmen, artists and creative people to give prominence to the value of human heritage that old Sana'a is rich in. These activities would have economic return mitigating the bad living conditions and to include all regions of Yemen.