Elham Al-Arashi: Artistic Expression at its Best [Archives:1998/06/Last Page]
Elham Ali Mohammed Al-Arashi is a Yemeni artist born in Aden in 1959. She got a masters degree in graphics and posters from the Sorikov Institute in Moscow, 1983-1990. She participated in 12 exhibitions, three of which were solo exhibitions. Her last exhibition, in July 1997, included 37 works in which she used oil, water colors, pastel and pencil. They ranged from carving on linoleum and copper to drawing on stones and other means of artistic expression.
Elham is the first Yemeni artist to specialize in graphic arts and posters. She says: “The art of poster drawing has different uses in politics, society, culture and business. An example of that is that when we want to promote a commodity, we do that through posters which are more attractive and more effective than advertising through words only.”
“I prefer to do political posters because through them you can expose any shortcomings without having to use any words.” In her works, she used posters to address issues like the Yemeni unification, promoting tourism in Yemen, archeology, female education, the environment, currency devaluation, etc. Al-Arashi concentrated most of her works on the reality of Yemeni women, dealing with everything that affects their lives.
Reminiscing about her school days, Elham remembered that she used to draw sketches on her books. She also started drawing maps and other teaching aids for the class. When the department of art was opened as a part of the Teachers’ Institute in Aden, she immediately enrolled there in 1976. Graduating in 1979, she then joined the Aden Institute of Fine Arts (1980-82).
Elham also became active in the field of eradicating illiteracy in addition to holding several exhibitions before going to study in the former Soviet Union. After her graduation, she taught arts in primary and preparatory schools for two years in Aden. “This is the best age in which students can perfectly and inherently understand art,” said Elham. After that, she was appointed a school inspector in the subject of art for the schools of Seera area in Aden, 1992-97. Now, Elham devotes most of her time for her art.
She took part in the founding conference of the Yemeni Plastic Artist’s Association in December, 1997. Her paintings were in an exhibition as part of the conference activities. Moreover, Elham participated in the Yemeni Plastic Artists’ exhibition that was held in the UNESCO hall, Paris, which is an added credit to her previous participations in several exhibitions in Moscow and in Yemen.
Elham Al-Arashi is a very self-confident woman who can organize her own exhibitions through her wholly individual efforts. Despite of everything, she courageously affords all the expenses saying that her works express her inner feelings and for that she has to work hard.
Through Yemen Times she would like to seize the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Culture, the Yemeni Plastic Artists’ Association and Al-Afif Cultural Foundation for sponsoring her third exhibition which was held from July 14-22, 1997.