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.
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.
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