16 Dec Trivial Innocence provides prize-winning perspective
Mayar from the Class of 2021 is one of the winners of ‘Painting Yemeni Perspectives’, a competition to find the best work from the country’s emerging artists.
“I started a series of paintings that explores themes of dystopia, war, and religion, I wanted to express them in a parody-like surrealist/symbolic manner. One of my paintings, ‘Trivial Innocence’ (pictured below), was a personal one, where I talked about myself during the 2015 civil war in Yemen,” says Mayar.
“The mind space that we were in during that time really intrigues me, my trivial childish innocence blinded me from the horrendous realities taking place. I recognize the purity in children and how they find the light in the darkest times. I wanted to express that, and I find surrealism a medium that portrays my thoughts effectively, I tried implementing Yemen through the traditional architectural buildings from Sana’a with its intricate designs, the sky and clouds embrace the Yemeni flag’s colours, with white discarded to portray a gloomy effect. I wanted to incorporate that element of innocence with me and my sister swinging from the building despite its dangers. This painting is very significant to me because it highlights a time, where I look back and see the fragile souls of children that represent the purity in life, having to see and live through hell due to men and leaders’ ignorance.”
The opportunity to participate in the exhibition came up by chance a few weeks ago. “One day I was scrolling down Instagram and I saw a post by the Yemeni Student Association of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan announcing the project and asking all Yemeni artists to submit an artwork about Yemen. I thought ‘why not’ and submitted it with no expectations at all. A week later there was an art gallery put online with all the works including my painting and I also received an email stating that I was one of the winners, receiving a $100 gift card in addition to being featured on their page. It was a very serendipitous moment that I will highly cherish as a young Yemeni artist.”
Congratulations to Mayar who really deserves this wider recognition for her work. You can find Mayar’s work alongside the other entries by Yemeni artists by clicking here.