Spirits of Aden A Painting Exhibition [Archives:2001/30/Culture]

July 23 2001

H.E. Mr. Bierre Boilot, French Ambassador to Yemen inaugurated on Monday July 9th a group exhibition featuring works of five Yemeni artists from Aden under the theme ‘Spirits of Aden’ at the French center in Sanaa. The exhibition was characterized by new techniques such as drawing on marine material and fish skin.
The event was attended by Mr. Girard Marciniak, Director of the French Cultural Center, Mr. Jean Francois Faü, Cultural Attaché, and many others. Nada Mansour Al-Shamiry of the Yemen Times met them and filed the following brief interviews:
Shooqui Abdo, General Secretary of the Artists Union, Aden:
“I Haven’t studied arts academically. It is just a talent that I try to improve by practicing and meeting with professionals.
I have been eager to participate in a group exhibition characterized by new techniques. Some of us used maritime materials that are considered unique not only in Yemen but are considered unique in the Arab world as well.
The style I follow is somehow experimental. My paintings depict women in different situations. The painting that I love most is ‘My Soul between East and West’ which presents a girl who was born abroad and then came back to Yemen to find herself in a cultural shock between two civilizations. Whatever she does is condemned by society.
All my paintings express the reality I live in and the ideas I have to transfer as long as I believe in the noble mission of art. I do not deal with art as a hobby to fill up my spare time. It is something in my blood and also my profession.”

Nasr Abdulla Hussain, a graduate of the Fine Arts Institute:
“I have been painting for a long time. I’ve loved painting since my early childhood. After completing my high school studies, I started studying art. My paintings portray the different aspects of my city. They talk about its beauty, nature, misery, poverty, etc.
If an artist sees a beautiful girl, he would definitely like to make a painting of her. That is why I have several paintings of my girl, Aden City.
I live in Aden all the time, and I believe I do have the right to express what I feel towards my beloved city in paintings?”

Shawqi Mohammed Abdo, a graduate of the Fine Arts Institute:
“After having finished my studies, I went through a crisis that forced me to give up painting. That was the worst stage of sorrow in my life. I had no job, and consequently my desire to carry on painting faded away. After overcoming the crisis, I decided to start with new things and new ideas. So I went out of the world of oil and watercolors and into the world of leather, which is of great attraction to me. I am currently among the few professionals in painting on leather.
I want to say that we need to work together with foreign artists as we have reached a reasonably good level of professionalism and want to expose our talents to the world.
Personally I am determined to go on painting while finding new attractive ideas and innovative possibilities for enhancing my skills in the near future.”

Adel Salem Ahmad, Ministry of Culture and Tourism
“I am participating in this exhibition with 10 oil paintings. My works talk about reality of women in general, and mothers in particular. One of my works is about architecture combining views from Sana’a and Shibam.
This is my fourth participation in Sana’a. I have participated in 16 group exhibitions in Aden.
I am a graduate of the Fine Arts Institute, and until this very moment I am still learning more.
I am sometimes criticized, but this does not bother me as I feel that this will actually help me improve my skills and abilities. I am sure that there is no perfect job even in art. We start with a lot of faults and by time we can get rid of them.”

Nasr Ahmad Saeed Hussein, graduate of the Fine Arts Institute:
“I work at the Fine Arts Institute and I am also in charge of the Information and Culture department of the Ministry of Culture office in Aden. I have been participating in exhibitions since my early childhood. I have two painting styles. The first is by using the skin of cuttlefish and the other is by using bandages so that they look like graphics. I rarely use oil or water colors. After I graduated, I devoted my time to art until I have reached the level I am in today.
I thank God for having me started my my career without difficulties or obstacles. I feel blessed to receive the support from various local and foreign organizations who helped me participate abroad in exhibitions in Sharjah, Qatar and the USA. I have been honored by an awarded submitted to me by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. I was also awarded the first prize in the first group exhibition I participated in at the Artist’s Union in 1996.”

Exhibition concluded
At the end of the exhibition, artists expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude to the great efforts exerted by the French Cultural Center, specially, by Mr. Girard Marciniak, Director of the Center, Ms. Aline Tran and Ms. Faniah Al-Ansi, in organizing the event.