Sadiq 99 The Brilliance of Yemeni Art [Archives:1999/31/Culture]

August 2 1999

Sadiq Ghalib is a very distinguished artist. He came back from Saudi Arabia in the beginning of the 90s. He has been able to establish a wide reputation in a very remarkably short time. He has participated in many shows and festivals in Yemen and other countries. The last festival he participated in was the Taiz Third Cultural Festival in which he presented two portraits: “The First Injury” and “Deprivation”.He was also chosen by Taiz University to supervise the work of the Yemeni artist; Ishtiaq Kaid who traveled to Egypt to participate in Ain Shams University Festival for plastic arts held on July 17. The Yemen Times met the artist, Sadiq Ghalib, and had the following chat with him:
Q: Will you please brief yourself ? and which one appeals to you more; painting or sign-writing?
A: My name is Sadiq Ghalib, known by Sadiq 99. I was born in Gabble Habashi in 1963. My start was at school. When a child, I used to spend my pocket-money on sheets and colors. It was Al-Zubairi school that played a great role in molding my talent. I first started with painting, sign-writing came next. As far as plastic arts is concerned, I do not belong to a specific school. All schools of plastic arts appeal to me and I always travel through them in pursuit of beauty. Sign-writing is an art by itself and it has its own pioneers. Unfortunately, this art is now threatened by computer writing programs which only serve materialistic purposes.
Q: Have you been influenced by other artists?
A: No, but I like the works of some of them. For example, I like the Surrealist Salvador Dali. Among the Arabs, I like the Lebanese Wajeeh Nahlah and in Yemen, Abdul Ghani Ali Ahmad.
Q: What were your best portraits that made you popular?
A: My best portrait is a romantic one called ” Deprivation”. This portrait expresses the ever-lasting longings of woman to man. In fact, my portraits often have a social and romantic sense and most of them are surrealistic.
Q: How do you evaluate plastic arts in Yemen? How do you perceive its future?
A: Plastic arts know no limits. Unfortunately, in Yemen the well-known artists have retired to commercial advertisements. Plastic arts’ future in Yemen seems promising. There are a lot of good young artists in Yemen who will lead this art to its glory. I am sure that these young artists will be up to our expectations, especially, Hakeem Al-Akil.
Q: What are the obstacles that face the artist in Yemen? How can he overcome them?
A: The obstacles are as follows:
1- The absence of a real school for teaching plastic arts and its principles.
2- The absence of galleries.
3- The artists’ tendency to publicize his works.
4- The false pride of some artists who refrain from helping the new generation of artists.
Q: What would you do if you were the Minister of Culture?
A: I have never hoped to be a minister, but I wish to see the following in Yemen:
1- Galleries.
2- Helping talented artists participate in international exhibitions.
3- holding monthly symposiums and seminars.
4- Establishing a syndicate for solving the artists’ problems.
Q: Do you think that the media has served plastic arts in Yemen?
A: We would like the media to pay special attention to plastic arts and the Yemeni artists.
Q: What are your ambitions? Have you achieved some of them?
A: I am still in the beginning of my career. I have participated in 24 international group shows and I have made more than three solo exhibitions in Yemen and other countries. I also have entered many national and international competitions. When I was in Saudi Arabia, I participated in many exhibitions there and others in Egypt and Jordan. Many prizes and certificates were awarded to me and I am still keeping them. My hope is to see plastic arts in better condition. Another hope is to draw the picture that I have been looking for and have not been able to draw yet!
Q: At the end of our interview, would you like to say anything else?
A: Yes. I would like to ask the syndicate in Sana’a why it hasn’t got a branch in Taiz. Finally, I thank the Yemen Times and its members and may God bless its founder, the late Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf.
Farouk Al-Kamali
Imad Al-Saqqaf
Yemen Times, Taiz