Somya al Mashjry



War Is No Obstacle for Brave Female Artists in Yemen

Female art students at the Women’s College of Hadramout University in South Yemen have successfully completed an open art exhibition as part of the university’s ‘University Day’ celebrations.

Art for art’s sake

The exhibition, which was held on the 25th and 26th of April this year, celebrated the talent of the female artists with paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics and mosaics. A ray of hope in a country blighted by war and political and economic crisis, the exhibition received a large number of visitors during the two days.

Acting Manager of the Art Education Department, Salem Webran, said that it is important for the students to be able to develop their talents despite the troubled world in which they live. Salem went on to add, “It is patience, innovation and enthusiasm which makes female students enroll in our college.” These three qualities are particularly poignant due to the fact that three of the female students graduating from the university this year are deaf and dumb, highlighting a tremendous determination on the part of these young ladies.

Overcoming adversity

Previous activities within the art department of the university were halted three years ago due to the crisis of the youth revolution in Yemen which led to the migration of foreign professors from the country.

Another obstacle to enrolling female students was the fact that, in a country on the brink of famine, the study of the arts is not seen as a discipline which will lead to lucrative employment.

Artist: Somya al mashjry. A deaf and dumb girl from Hadramout University.

The Dean of the university, Dr. Najat Bou Saba, commented that the weakness of social awareness was also one of the factors contributing to enrolling difficulties.

In order to encourage female enrolment, the university offered a number of incentives including the opportunity to join the department straight from secondary school and, financial help with tools and materials despite the limited resources of the college.

Female students shine a light in dark times

The exhibition, which included a number of extraordinary works, boasted a mosaic of birds and drawings of musical instruments by the special needs students.

According to Bou Saba, the college seeks to teach students how to convert art into products and services from which to earn an income. Former student, Amina, has since gone on to launch her own small enterprise offering art products and services such as the design of wedding invitations, business cards, decorating, gift wrapping and more.

In a country which has seen more than its fair share of hardship, the work by these female students offers a much needed ray of light.

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