Prof. Ratti to YT: “The Yemeni nation is great and I adore Sana’a”” [Archives:2005/841/Community]”

May 12 2005
Prof. Marlena Ratti
Prof. Marlena Ratti
Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
“Reaching Sana'a is inevitable despite longtime traveling”; a proverb often said by Yemenis and non-Yemenis since this city was and is still the first source of passion.

The stories of the passion and love of Sana'a are galore and look different from one another, and can never be invented except by those who prove to have a taste of passion and adoration.

The story of love and adoration is still continuing between the Italian national Prof. Marlena Ratti and Sana'a.

The story of Prof. Ratti is not an easy one as it started in 1960 (45 years ago) to continue up until now without any break. The relation between Prof. Ratti and Sana'a was deepened with her buying a house in the old city of Sana'a. In this there is an Italian Cultural Center, which contains over 5000 journals and books on economics, medicine, psychology, philosophy and history.

There appears a variety of amazing things when we know about Marlena Ratti who is not an ordinary woman, rather she is a leading and talented figure and is outstanding in the area of painting. This woman, holding a doctoral degree in psychology, proved able to write numerous books and scientific researches. She has a variety of paintings and landscapes in different museums in France and the United States of America.

While meeting with Prof. Marlena Ratti, we forwarded to her the following questions:

Q: Can you give us brief information about your life?

A: I want to tell in brief about this matter, as I need not pride myself on my reputation or to talk more about myself. I was born in Italy and descended from a religious clan. The uncle of my father is the Bishop of Pope Eleventh Acllille Rate. I studied philosophy and became a teacher in this field and obtained my Ph. D degree in painting and won many international contests held in Geneva for achieving a series of painting about the issues of Disaparecidos “disappearing politicians”.

After two years, I won another contest organized by the Amnesty International for showing a number of artistic works on defending human rights. I delivered a series of lectures in Tokyo, Paris and in Oxford University and achieved a number of wall paintings and artistic portraits. These days I work in Yemen as a founder of the Italian Cultural Center and in the provision of charitable works in Yemen.

Q: Where can one find your great artistic works?

A: In the National Museum in Milan, Italy as well as in other places all over the world, including the group of artistic works for Queen Elizabeth, the Empire of Japan and the former French President Metran and the former US President Regan.

I also have other paintings in Paris, Sana'a and in the Vatican Museum in Rome, and I made some decorations on doors.

Q: How did you start your story of adoring Yemen?

A: I like to confirm that I have been adoring Yemen for a long time, and my first visit to Yemen was in 1960 during which I stayed in the old city of Sana'a and such a historic city compels the visitor to adore it.

Afterwards, I visited Yemen several times till I settled down in this fascinating city, which I adore from inside my heart. All the Yemeni museums give the beholder a glimpse of the past and the ancient civilization.

Q: Is there any remarkable difference between Sana'a in 1960 and today?

A: Already there is a huge difference as the city was nicer than it looks now since there was not cement-built buildings surrounding the fascinating scenes of the old city, although cement-constructed buildings were available in numerous historic cities all over the world. But despite these changes, the old city of Sana'a retained its spectacular scenes and uniqueness and it is in Sana'a where many people have been living for thousands of years.

People living in Sana'a were proud of being hospitable and well-bred, and my admiration of such a great nation obliged me to retain all my paintings that are related to Yemen, most important of which was the portrait of Queen Balqis in the Lufer Museum in Paris and another portrait of Bab al-Yemen is available in New York.

Q: Can you give us a glimpse of your activities nowadays?

A: I work for the Italian Cultural Center for Studies that was founded by virtue of my personal efforts. The center, which was inaugurated last year and located in my house in the old city of Sana'a, is a non-governmental organization and aims to expand the realm of knowledge, develop the Italian culture and upgrade the status of the Italian Language among its learners.

Additionally, the center contains many valuable books and references written in the Italian Language with special standards for those interested in teaching the Italian Language and culture to pupils under 15.

We have the intention to search for the Italian scriptures to restore them and to establish relations with other cultural centers and libraries for the purpose of exchanging books and scriptures as well as to offer a variety of other activities in cooperation with the Italian Embassy in Sana'a.

Q: Are there any people interested in visiting the center?

A: Yes, there are several Yemenis and Non-Yemenis who usually visit the center and get acquainted with almost all the books and references available there. There are many graduates from different Italian universities who refer to these references in different scientific areas while students at the Department of Italian Language; Sana'a University pay visits to the center to profit from the available references.

In the center, we have a special wing for children under 15 years. The center provided all the libraries in different Yemeni cities with various historical books.

The Italian Cultural Center contains a series of books about Yemen and other areas including arts, philosophy, science, medicine, economics and history that number up to 15 thousand.

Q: How did the idea of founding the center come to your mind?

A: The idea of establishing the center has been in mind for a long time till I was motivated and encouraged by some Yemenis studying in Italy who insisted on the establishment of the center to strengthen ties between Yemen and Italy. The inauguration of the center is thought of as a symbol of adoration and respect for the Yemeni nation.

I have the pleasure to confirm the center will contribute to enhancing ties between the two brotherly countries and promote the areas of tourism, culture and economics in both Yemen and Italy.

Q: Any final words?

A: I like to emphasize when the culture gets embodied, it will tackle many problems and reinforce the language of dialogue. I hope the center be able to reinforce the scope of culture in Yemen.

Finally, I would thank all those who cooperated with me, mainly the Governor of Sana'a Abdulwahid al-Bukhaiti as well as other dignitaries who supported the activities of the center.