Feature: Yemeni artist turns rubbish into art as war rages on

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2020
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SANAA, March 14 (Xinhua) -- At his home in the capital Sanaa, Yemeni artist Yassin Ghaleb is turning rubbish on the streets into beautiful paintings and sculptures against the background of an ongoing civil war in his country.

Ghaleb said his art aims at encouraging creativity in society.

"My idea maybe is still a minor one, but if it is adopted and taught in schools about how to use and get advantage from every material, we would find a beautiful environment," he explained.

"We would find good ideas for our children who are the creators of the future, and this means creativity from normal circumstances," Ghaleb noted.

Inspired by the environment, Ghaleb draws the traditional architecture in the Old City of Sanaa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as clothes and Jambiya, a Yemeni curved dagger.

"I was a member of the Syndicate of Fine Art, and this interest came mainly as a result of my architectural background and my love for plastic arts," he explained.

"Some materials, which people see as rubbish, appear in my eyes as something else. This encourages me to pick the garbage up and try as much as possible to convert it into a valuable object," Ghaleb told Xinhua.

Ghaleb's wife and their three children are also involved in this art as a family hobby.

"I am doing this for my love for art," he said.

Ghaleb has converted his reception room into an art exhibition for visitors, but still almost no visitor comes to buy an art piece amid the dire economic situation in the country.

"In this country, culture and art could not feed you. Since 1988, I haven't seen a Yemeni coming to buy something or expressing the will to obtain a painting," he said.

"Unfortunately, there is an insufficiency in the visual culture ... despite much evidence that art is rooted in the lives of Yemenis from decades ago," Ghaleb added.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country's north and forced the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The Saudi-led military coalition intervened in March 2015 to support Hadi's government.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, displaced over 3 million, cut public sector wages and pushed the country to the brink of famine.

"Of course, the war is a great disaster which spoils everything ... we hope it will end," Ghaleb said. Enditem

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