I tried to take photos of the city but I wasn’t allowed to, I needed permission from officials so I thought of giving you a brief perspective of Aden city, a coastal southern city in Yemen, through paintings.
Yesterday, there was an opening event in the poorly-funded city gallery so I found it an opportunity to learn how the current political strife and the March 2015 war has affected art in the city. I had a nice chat with the gallery director Mr. Shouki Abdo who explained how the gallery was affected by the war from looting and physical damage. You can see in the pictures if you focus in how the walls are cracked as well as the windows and even some bullet scars.
Mr. Abdo mentioned how artists featured the sea a lot in their paintings because it was the only way to evacuate war-hit districts of the city to safer spots. Further, it was the only place to go after the destruction of the malls, restaurants, and public parks. He also added, “During summer when the weather was extremely humid and when the long-hours of power cuts prevailed; it was the only resort.”
One of the artists who was featured was Mr. Saleh who insisted that we live in a culture where art is considered a feminine talent. He himself was teased as a high-school student for loving to draw and paint but worked hard to overcome that pressure. Mr. Saleh pointed out that the subjects of the topics were mainly: the sea,women, and war.
P.s: If you wonder why not many people are attending the event, people are exhausted and since they are not provided with the essential necessities. More importantly, the state has failed to support such initiatives.