#OurYemen is a new recurring series featuring photos and stories about the human side of Yemen. Each post will highlight a person, place, or feeling that defines Yemen for us. Please share your own stories and images in the comments below, or email us at email@example.com.
In June 2012 we met a group of young community activists working to bring art to the streets of the city of Ta‘iz. This city was the ideological heart of the 2011 uprising against 'Ali 'Abdullah Saleh's 33-year regime, and its residents faced some of the most brutal acts of repression Yemen saw during the revolution. Months of street fighting and artillery shelling left their mark on the city. So in 2012, Sadek Maktari and other local activists took it upon themselves to revitalize the scarred streets of Ta‘iz with dazzling colors. The "Colors of Life" volunteers painted murals on the brick walls of one street in particular, recreating the works of famed local artist Hashim 'Ali, for whom the street was renamed. Many of the volunteers involved are artists in their own rights; we were fortunate to have a chance to look through some of their own portfolios as well.