YEMEN-ARTS Project [Archives:2001/17/Last Page]

April 23 2001


Al-Yemen, meaning “the right” and also known as the joyful Arabia, is the most fertile region of the Arabian Peninsula.
The country includes a variation of landscapes, whether it be the coastal areas of Tihama, the higher regions of
Yemen which are famous for its terrace agriculture which encompasses its mountains from the highest peak, (Jebel Nabi Shuab, 3 760) or the southern regions of Taiz.
For centuries the Yemenis have calculated the exact needs of construction permitting the right retention of water for the irrigation of these terraces. Till today the knowledge and skill of such an antique agriculture is still retained.
Yemen is also famous for its architecture which ranges from the lava black stones to a variety of colorful stones and granite covering tones of red, ochre, green and grays to its famous mud constructions found in the regions of Damahr, Sada, Seiyoun and Shibam (Hadramawt). It is said that Yemen is marked by a variety of architectural patterns found nowhere else throughout the Arabian Peninsula. It is thought that the Yemeni’s art of construction permitted the local people to defend themselves against foreign attacks, such as that of the Turkish Ottoman empire.
Yemen Arts is an initiative put forward by DIA – a French NGO. This initiative has been taken after extensive participations in youth activities and programs that DIA has been implementing in Yemen.
This project has an important role in presenting the Yemeni Culture and Heritage to the world. The Project will gather all Yemeni artists working in different art forms, from urban and rural areas, thus giving all men and women artists an equal opportunity in present their works. It will also be an extensive presentation of major cities and architectural forms in Yemen.
This project, which is a DIA initiative, (DIA has been extensively participating and organizing various youth activities and programs in Yemen since 1999) has an important role in presenting the Yemeni Culture and Heritage to the world.
The project proposes the gathering of data for one year on all available artists (for those who are willing to participate) and various art forms, ranging from traditional art and craft to contemporary arts in Yemen.
It will include information on major cities, (photographs, videos, texts, maps, etc.) from customs to traditional colorful costumes. The project will have an extensive architectural and archeological database where differences in architecture throughout Yemen will be clearly presented.
It will give all men and women artists an equal opportunity in presenting their work, and at the same time bring the Yemeni artists closer to each other, facilitating the exchange of experiences and ideas. The artists will feel part of the project as they actively participate (helping to gather information about their place of living, both in urban and rural areas, on the specificity of their region, etc) in building
What surprised us is the big enthusiasm among the artists for this project, as we regularly get new artists from around the country asking to participate in ‘YemenArts’. That is a major reason why we started implementing this project, although, we are searching for sponsors. We hope they will mainly be Yemeni companies that can realize the potentials and the global impact of such a project. It also has great importance in promoting modern communication technologies in Yemen.
The huge data of gathered information, related to various forms, will be presented in an attractive format and be published on the Internet.
A more sophisticated version, in the project’s second stage, (after the first year) will be designed on 1-2 CD’s. The complete data will be distributed to ministries, , embassies, bookstores world wide, major hotels, travel agencies etc.
The world had, from the 11th century, till today, a different vision of the Arab world, mostly associated with negative connotations. As Yemen is desperately trying to catch up with more technology advanced countries, this project has an important role in establishing a bridge between the Yemeni-Arabic culture and a wider audience worldwide.
As a prelude to the project, we organized in DIA’s office in Sana’a, a live connection on the Internet for two hours between Artists in Marseille (France) and Sana’a on the topic of contemporary art.
Artists were able to view each other’s works, while comments and questions came from both sides. For most Yemeni artists present, it was a first time experience of a live connection and it was an opportunity for them to explore the French society and culture. In future we are planning to organize similar events of live connections between Sana’a and Taiz. We are also organizing exhibitions and various workshops, all with the intention of helping Yemeni Artists bring forward their work and presenting our rich heritage.