The YPP uses art to further our mission of increasing understanding of Yemen in the wider world. Art transcends language and geography, allowing individuals to express themselves and their experiences to a global audience. Our efforts to bring the work of Yemeni artists to the US and other countries provide people around the world a window into Yemeni society and culture, and help our audience to understand how much we all have in common.
The YPP’s Artistic Outreach program also benefits Yemeni artists by providing opportunities for them to show their work to a wider audience. Yemen has very few opportunities for artists, particularly young ones. By giving them an outlet outside of Yemen, we not only give them exposure, but also help to legitimize and encourage their work inside of Yemen.
The program grew out of the YPP’s first artistic event, the “Revolution in Their Eyes” photography exhibition, which brought eyewitness photography from Yemen’s 2011 popular uprising to audiences in Washington DC, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Canberra. The exhibition began as a one-weekend show organized by YPP staff and independent Yemeni-American activists, and grew into a traveling exhibition featuring over 100 images by six Yemeni activist-photographers.
The cornerstone of our Artistic Outreach programs is the International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival. The inaugural Festival was held in 2014, with film screenings and photography exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Berkeley, Aden, Sanʻa, and London. The goal of the Festival is two-fold: to provide an outlet for Yemeni artists and filmmakers, who have very few opportunities to show their work at home or abroad, and to expose as wide an audience as possible to Yemen and its people through the visual arts.
Participation in the Festival is not limited to Yemenis; we invite artists and filmmakers from all backgrounds, anywhere in the world, to submit their work for future Festivals, so long as either the artist or the artwork has some connection to Yemen.
As the YPP’s capacity increases, we plan to expand the Artistic Outreach program to include training programs and funded fellowships for Yemeni artists in a number of fields.
Ghada Al-Wazeer PHOTOGRAPHER
“Destruction and poverty are usually the news headlines on Yemen. Not so many people in the world see the other image of Yemen, the happy kids on the streets of San‘a who will ask you to take a picture of them, the working men and women going about their daily lives. I choose street photography because for me, what represents a country to the world is its streets and people.”
Ghada’s photography was featured in our “Revolution in Their Eyes” exhibition, and in our 2014 International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival.
"There are many misconceptions of Yemen; however, it is a country rich in nature, history, and talent. The people of Yemen are known for their kindness, simplicity, and great hospitality to others. It is incredibly important for people around the world to view Yemen from a different angle rather than that which is ordinarily portrayed in the media. They must know that Yemen is not a war zone that condones terrorism, war, and hate; but a country full of love, peace, beauty, and skilled individuals. I suggest attending events such as ones hosted by the YPP to gain a better understanding of Yemen and its culture.
In short, Yemen is a country overflowing with beauty that I’d love for others to see through the lenses and artwork of its own people."
Yusra’s photography was featured in our 2014 International Yemeni Film & Arts Festival.