Cities in conflict
By Farhan Muhammad
Since 2015, Yemen has been suffering deadly airstrikes and heavy bombardment. In the chaos, medicine, food and running water have been transformed into luxuries as families continue to be displaced. Since the arrival of Covid-19 to the already weakened country, It has left 80% of its population in need of humanitarian assistance. With hospitals overwhelmed and conflict continuing it has also given way to the re-emergence of several communicable diseases, including cholera, diarrhoea, dengue and measles. Any opportunities to earn a consistent income have further been lessened as the country suffers. Whilst Yemen has been shrouded in gloom. It is important to recognise the efforts of individuals who have come together to promote a side of Yemen that is often shadowed by its conflict.
The Arsheef, a gallery located in Yemen’s capital Sana’a is dedicated to the promotion of young Yemeni artists. It debuted its inaugural work ‘Turn on the light’ in late 2019, aimed to give these young photographers a place to shine, making them visible and giving them the space for their voices to be heard. Although, the Gallery operates mostly through Instagram, viewings for its presentations are available through booking. However, through establishing a digital space it allows its artists to be promoted worldwide. Following it’s debut, the Arsheef featured a solo presentation of Abeer Aref; Would You Count My Pain Though I Shed No Tear. Which was available to visit till May 28th. Currently the Gallery is closed over the summer to be opened soon in September. The Arsheef offers a unique perspective of life that is otherwise completely unattainable to outsiders. Their September release is something to keep an eye out for.
The Ramooz foundation is an independent non-profit programme located in Sana’a. Its work is dedicated to the promotion of Yemeni Art and Culture internationally. From exhibits in Berlin, Beirut and Malaysia. However, it is the aims of the foundation that really stand out. The foundation promotes art as a means for conflict resolution and social development. The foundation has also provided writing and photography workshops in the past to help hone the talents of Yemenis across the world.
A direct response to the declaration of Yemen’s humanitarian crisis was the creation of a beautiful movement. Prints for Yemen, was put together by @intibint, @i.am.shaima and Al Yamaniah that showcased Yemeni female artists and photographers. It helped raise $19,067.25 for Yemen Aid US. Its donations were put forward to help support farmers. The event ended 2 days ago, however, the amount of work that was put together to make this a reality is truly an achievement. Whilst the event may be over, it is still worthwhile to check out the founders @i.am.shaima for her beautiful photography and @intibint, for her music.
With an estimated 2.4 million children to be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. Yemen falls victim to a double-edged sword, with conflict displacing families and the imposed Corona-virus restrictions inhibiting any sliver of hope for consistent income. As a result, entire families are forced to rely on charities and the goodwill of others to feed themselves. If you are interested in helping Yemen, please consider donating to the charities below:
Save the Children