Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Home is the place where we live. Where's home? We must remain alive to live in a home. And to continue to exist and to also have an objective reality of being alive and existing at home. The truth is that things exist to an idea of what is home. It's up to you to choose to make your existence. Rules happen at home and stay at home, and one of the rules is that we never speak about what happened in our household traditionally in Yemen.
I was living in Taiz, Yemen, in my father's house. Chaos is what I recall when thinking about the home I grew up in. I grew up around chaos, and if it weren't something religious going on between two different believers, then it would be the nonstop sound of car horns going off at each other. It was hard knowing what peace even sounded like until I moved out of Yemen. But by that time, I was already affected by mental issues that don't allow me to forget what I saw and heard. I use that chaos as inspiration in my art practice though, and it helps me heal by letting it out and shed light on the cause of bringing peace to the country again. Many years ago, people from all around the world visited Yemen to see the ancient architecture and history it has. Now it's filled with chaos and death, and foreigners wouldn't think of going into Yemen now.
When I first started painting as an adult, I used red and black mostly, and it was an emotion-based abstraction. People who don't understand abstraction think my art looks chaotic. They don't believe there was purpose or direction. My studio is a bit chaotic with books and papers everywhere. While working in my studio, there are bottles of water, soda bottles, and other stuff just laying around, this also reminds me of my father's house growing up.
One of the most challenging things that a person can deal with in their life in Yemen is almost inevitable is that a person would see their own family or loved ones buried six feet underground. Most of the time, I would be at a complete loss of words. Had it not been for God, at that moment, I felt depressed and wished death upon myself. During that time, because of the intense grief that I was feeling, and there was no way around it. I turned to produce artwork that reflected my experiences and how it helped my grieving process. Usually, at those moments, whenever I lose someone I love, I don't feel like hearing anything from anybody. I don't feel attending any gatherings or have people come and give me their advice unless they've been through something recently. I want to be left alone, grieve, and make artwork. One of the things my mother told me was that "when someone dies, family or loved ones God has given them their bounty, they've seen their share. They're pleased with what God has given them, and they've rejoicing, at the name of the people that will soon join them, they're having a coming together party celebrating. God only allows the righteous souls to meet one another in paradise and to congratulate each other and to visit each other's graves, and you know what they're waiting for the righteous that have yet followed. Be righteous, and you'll meet your loved ones in paradise."
Sitting back and observing the extraction of ignorance that bleeds with no mercy. Life is complicated, and it's a mixture of advantages and disadvantages. Something my mom always told me is that a stone follows the servile, meaning the stone follows the weak and makes them oppressed. It's time to rewrite our fate and understand that we aren't the only things that exist.