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Tell Me About Your Anxiety | Sana’a-based gallery Arsheef launches digital exhibition addressing anxiety amongst young Yemeni men

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Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery, Arsheef, are back again with their latest exhibit Tell Me About Your Anxiety. Launched via Instagram on September 30 until October 21, photographers Asim Abdul-Aziz, Amr Attamimi and Ahmed al-Abbadi will reveal through the lens how anxiety is acknowledged and to what degree accepted by young Yemeni men.

 

Arsheef is based in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, and is curated by Ibi Ibrahim and Lizzy Vartanian. Launched in November 2019, the gallery exists to put Yemeni art on the map and change the mainstream discourse about the country. While hosting artists and also opening the space to the public, Arsheef has nurtured both creatives and art enthusiasts alike in Yemen. Tell Me About Your Anxiety is the fourth exhibition curated by the team, having worked with a range of multidisciplinary artists in the past year and gaining attention both locally and internationally.

 

By Olivia Melkonian

 

Image by Ahmed al-Abbadi

 

 

Their first exhibition post, which you can find at @arsheef.yemen, depicts a quote from al-Abbadi, captioned “we ask our participating artists to tell us about their anxiety.”

“I try to live with anxiety and suppress it. We live in a society that doesn’t offer a space for young people to talk about these feelings; in particular for men.”

Another quote by Amr al-Attamimi presents itself as:

 “Yemenis don’t go out a lot, they don’t interact with lots of people; whether for traditional or economical reasons. It’s not that they don’t want to interact, it’s rather the situation restricts us a lot.”

 

The sombre tone and reflection of the young men on their anxiety and how they deal with it is in fact inspiring to see as part of an exhibit. The artists’ thoughts so far and our own responses to them display the necessity for art like this – not just opening up, but listening too. While these honest conversations are overdue, we must acknowledge that they’re not always possible, recognizing the privilege of having a safe space to share and be heard. Through initiatives like these and organizations like Arsheef we hope that in the coming future the acceptance of anxiety and how to cope with it are more widespread throughout the region.

While Arsheef usually exhibits in person, via viewing appointment only, Tell Me About Your Anxiety is the first fully digital exhibition hosted by the gallery. Their Instagram account captures special moments from their IRL exhibits, but this is the first chance to view one in completion in the comfort of your own home. Arsheef encourages enthusiasts to invest in these artists to support their careers as emerging creatives.

 

You can find the artists involved on Instagram at:

Ahmed al-Abbadi – @pvilb

Ahmed Alabbadi (b. 2003, Aden, Yemen) is based in Aden. Having just embarked on his career as an artist, he is focusing on using photography as a medium for his art. 

Amr Attamimi – @amrattamimi

Amr Attamimi (b. 1990, Sana’a, Yemen) uses photography to reflect his experiences in a country where artists often struggle to break the barrier of tradition and conservatism. Through various stages of ups and downs, he takes a moment to express what he feels and channel his inner emotions. He is currently living in London.

Asim Abdul-Aziz – @asim_aziiz

Asim Abdul-Aziz (b. 1997, Aden, Yemen) is a photographer based in Aden. He holds a degree in International Business Management from Malaysia. Asim uses his camera to reflect on his feelings as a young person living in a conflict zone.