Driven by longing [Archives:2003/681/Last Page]

October 30 2003

By Irena Knehtl
Yemeni artist Samira Abdo Ali has created some of the most distilled images of Yemen likely to be seen… She was born by the sea, to which she is as devoted as to her art. This is not to say that her paintings are limited in any way, for though she has captured the essence of the landscape around her, her vision has gone far beyond the boundaries of Yemen. Her paintings express a yearning to be somewhere higher. Her familiarity with her environment and a keen desire not to repeat what is around her, have enabled her to create landscapes that are unique in their ability to cut through visual noise. The area around the city of her birth – Aden – offers some of most breathtaking combination of sea, mountains, and sand, of past and present and possibly future. Her artwork creates a notable sense of artistic tensions in the viewer. The effort to reconcile the only adds to its beauty. She wants the viewer to see her landscapes through her eyes. Human longing is what drives her art, characterized by desire to see a better world. She seems constantly searching for it, in the legends, in tales, in the past, in the history. We are not allowed to forget that the better world is screened off from our world, and our inability to find channels for communication and
understanding. She rarely bothers with sketching, the oil got straight on. By painting directly, the paintings move on with her. She paints at home and likes silence and comfort of familiarity. Her current style seems to be a fusion of abstract and realism. But she often goes back to realism to keep in touch with valuable lessons.

Samira Abdo Ali is also the first female Cinema and TV Director at the Yemeni TV.
Actually her desire was to make films that should likewise communicate desire for a better world to the world. She came out with excellence during her studies for Master degree at the prestigious Moscow Film Academy during 1986 for film directing and animation. Also there in 1980 she won award as the best political cartoonist. She is also about to finish her Doctorate at the Film Institute in Cairo.
Back to Yemen, she twice exhibited her artwork in Sana’a during the nineties.
Awards and recognition followed: For her well researched and beautifully documented series in 18 parts on Yemeni handicrafts, regularly shown on Yemeni TV, she was awarded Gold medal at the Film Festival in Cairo in 1998. Parts of her series were the only foreign Arab film also shown on the Egyptian TV. Directing the short film “The Lawyer” covering social issues of Yemeni women, also recently shown on Yemeni TV won her award and recognition at the Cairo Film Festival during this year as the best Arab short film.
Also during Nineties she directed 3 short films from Yemeni folk stories, twice, during 1989 and 2001, she directed children series for the Yemeni TV, as well as children theater. But it was her last year researched and beautifully presented program during the Holy month of Ramadhan “Science and the Quran” that won her audience all over Yemen. The program this year will be under the title “The history of Science” also directed by Samira. Well known as illustrator of children books, and writer of children stories, she is also writer of short stories regularly published in various Yemeni newspapers and magazines.