Yemeni artist transforms war into hope | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 06.01.2016
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Middle East

Yemeni artist transforms war into hope

Saba Jallas is inspiring thousands with her touching works of art in the face of a devastating war in her home country. She wants to help fellow citizens cope with the trauma of having to see images of war every day.

For young Yemenis images of war are not just present in the news but often happen in front of their eyes, their houses and are a part of their everyday life. They are living in a country destroyed by a recent civil war.

Perhaps it takes the imagination of a young person combined the hopelessness of the situation to see beauty in war. That is exactly what Saba Jallas is doing.

Saba has set up a Facebook page where she regularly posts drawings along with poetry expressing her feelings about the situation in her country. Most of her poetry is about putting an end to the wars raging in the arab countries. She also uploads adaptations of real war images. Mostly she draws playful motifs over clouds of smoke from exploded bombs with the help of her cell phone.

According to her Facebook profil and page the 31-year-old artist is from Sanaa, Yemen and attended the University of Sanaa. However, she says she is no longer living in the country. Her Facebook page is in Arabic and has become very popular, especially with Yemenis and the country's diaspora. Jallas says her goal is to use the images to spread peace and hope in Yemen and beyond.

"I was inspired by the smiles and optimism I saw on the faces of Yemeni people and children even under the threat of bombs," she told DW.

The war in Yemen

Located at the southwestern corner of the Arabian Penninsula, Yemen is a country that is not often in the news. Even the civil war which is raging in the country has not been grabbing headlines although there are estimates that 6,000 people have been killed, many of them civilians.

The civil war began in 2015 when the Houthis, a rebels group from the north of the country, took control of the capital Sanaa. The rebels then began heading south into lands controlled by government forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

Soon after, a Saudi-led coalition joined the fight against the Houthis. Coalition jets began bombing Houthi-controlled areas and assisting forces loyal to Hadi.

Positive response

Her drawings are trending on social media and are bringing interest to the violent conflict in the region. According to the comments under her posts, her images are having the intended effect.

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