”I paint my love for Yemen”, Wissam Al-Ansi

I will start my story from the end, because its beginning was beautiful and, somehow, beautiful stories become ordinary.
I am a visual artist; there are times I wish I never drew due to the many disappointments I constantly face.
My name is Wissam Al-Ansi from Yemen, Dhamar Governorate.
I was born in 1982.

I was an employee at the Education Office in my governorate until 2014; times were difficult already, then.  In 2015, when the war broke, salaries were cut and education and health system deteriorated.
The most painful part, though, was what the air-raids did to my children: they suffered in a way only those who have experienced war can relate to.

We held tight to the family, the area, the people. For over 2 years, we hoped and prayed but, at times, leaving your life behind is the only way to continue living. That life, in that context, was a death sentence, especially for my children. They are only children.

We sold everything in Yemen and we jumped into the unknown moving to Cairo (Egypt). It was June 2017.
Life in Egypt… Definitely, we enjoy security and peace, but living remains a difficult matter. I do not have a job or financial income, and the sale of paintings is very rare.
Occasionally I meet with a Yemeni friend, just one friend. Life of those who have fled a war is never smooth.

Since I moved to Cairo, I have never been idle: I participated in more than twenty exhibitions. It is my way of contributing to the world, through my art.
I held two personal exhibitions in Cairo on Yemen and Yemen’s heritage: there is so much beauty untold about my country. Covid, though, stopped all cultural activities. Before that, I had personal exhibitions at the French, Italian and German Cultural Centers.

Wissam Al Ansi portrays the life of everyday Yemen, with
 women play a central role in sustaining the family
Women always played a special role in Wassim Al Ansi’s art: their’s is the fabric of the family

Recently, I thought about making a portrait painting for the President of the Federal Republic of Germany and applied for approval to hold a personal exhibition on Yemeni heritage, but Covid, again, stepped in and I am still waiting for approval and better days.

Now I want to present a painting of a Yemeni woman with traditional clothes, to be sold at an auction:  50% of the amount goes to the benefit of poor families and widowed women who lost their husbands and sons because of the war. The other half would help me go by and allow me to sustain my father and mother who are suffering because of the war.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-4.png
The painting Wissam Al Ansi is selling, donating 50% of the proceeds to vulnerable widows and mothers who have lost their children

It is true that our life now is difficult, but the love for the homeland always prevails over everything.
My wish is to succeed in serving art and society, spreading the message of peace and tolerance, and preserving our heritage and civilization. I want to embrace the world with Yemen’s beauty, for all to see.
I can only paint what belongs to me: both land and people… my Beloved Yemen.

For further information on Wissam Al-Ansi’s work, on the auction, his dreams and what sustains him, please visit his facebook page
WhatsApp: 00201154294403
email: wesamelansy@gmail.com

Mazher Nizar, more than a Yemeni artist

This is beautiful. Coming out of Yemen, from one of its sons. And if there is a medium of universal dialogue, it´s art.
Art crosses all barriers, it expresses, it changes, it can make people angry, is seen with different eyes, ears, palates across the universe. It communicates on a multitude of different levels. Art rests in the soul. Art never really disappears. It´s eternal.

There are times when you hear two words on a bus, in a market and you stop acknowledging that what you have just heard is nothing but poetry. Or a picture, taken by mistake, is simply art. Beautiful. A silent talker or a shouter. Accidental art.
On the other hand, you search for art going to a museum, to a concert, studying poetry.Yemen-Hope-Art

I happened to meet Mazher Nizar during the final months of the Yemeni revolution at the end of 2011. The worst seemed to have passed, Embassies were reopening and there was some level of – not optimism – something which seemed more like a cautious breathing.
I found out that his was the Art Gallery in Bab el Yemen, the main entrance gate to the jewel of the Old City of Sanaá.
I never told him that his gallery was a place where I had spent my free hours whenever I needed peace on Friday afternoons. It was my balm.
Bab el Yemen

Mazher Nizar is a Yemeni artist born and raised in India as he says: “Divided between two cultures, it has been three decades since I came from India back to Yemen. Yemen has always inspired me  since 1985, especially the old city of Sanaa where I have been painting views and veiled women. The rich history and culture of Yemen allowed me to work with Queens and women of this beautiful country.”

Sounds even too obvious to add we share the same, deep love for Yemen and the Old City of Sanaá where I spent most of my last decade in full veneration of what was surrounding

What Mazher does not know is that, since the war started in March 2015, just after a bombardment on Sanaá, if I had some battery left in my laptop, I would log in and check his posts on Facebook. Because every time he could, he was sharing one of his paintings with a message of encouragement to his country and us all. Even when he was sharing his pain (how not to?), pain was bonding us.

Seeing those colours, the women wrapped in the sitara – the typical multi-colour veil women place over them when leaving the house (mainly elderly women in the Old City), the birds of peace, the eyes which speak thousands of years of history, the walls of gingerbread houses and hundreds of other details, reminded me that the Yemen we knew was still worth the fight and our hopes for reasoning to prevail.

The ancient culture required us to be together in denouncing the massacre perpetrated against us. The colours of what had become both the chosen homeland for many of us and the motherland which adopted us all could not be covered by the smoke of bombs or the dust of crumbling houses. Through Mizhar´s colours I could obliterate the ever-present blood appearing in most of my thoughts.


Mazher, to me, will always represent hope born out of love for a country, the light I was seeing in what will probably be my darkest days when I had no one to counterbalance what was around me. It was private, personal. It kept me going.

I hope you will re-open your Art Gallery soon, Mazher. It would mean so many things, commencing with the three words we all want to hear: War is Over.

 For more information: http://www.nizar-art.com/