The fine art of the Colored Halos team
The team—Hind Al-Shiqa', Shifa'a Al-Shuaibi, Ghada Al-Haddad, Sima Al-Duba'i and Asma'a Ghalab—practice a unique style of art which reflects the struggles of Yemeni women, and the particularities of Yemeni society, particularly from their native region of Tehama.
The team was formed in Hodeida, and then went abroad to participate in several exhibitions, among them the Red Sea Countries Arts Festival in Sweden, the Arab Artist Fingerprints Exhibition in Cairo and the Fine Art Gallery graphic design show in Jordan.
Challenge is the beginning
"The beginning was in 2005 after our graduation ceremony. We studied together at the College of Fine Arts in the University of Hodeida. We were each making our own individual drawings, but then we made up our minds to establish a team so that we can share ideas and support one another," said Al-Shuaibi.
"We faced a number of difficulties at the beginning. It took a long time for society and people around us to accept us as female artists . However, our family and friends pushed us to continue," she said.
"Early on we participated in several exhibitions held in Yemen. However, the drawings we presented received praise from very few people, and making our art well-known among Yemenis was a real challenge for us," she added.
"Unfortunately, in our society, fine art isn't appreciated because of the lack of people's awareness of its importance," added Al-Haddad.
"The first thing we achieved as a team was establishing the Hodeida Art House in 2006," said Al-Shiqa'.
"We can't deny that it was very difficult in the beginning to persuade Yemenis that we have good talents which are worth supporting. Also, it was hard to convince them that we represent Yemen by participating in fine art exhibitions," she continued.
"However, after presenting our work on numerous occasions, we felt that that we were making progress. We participated in several exhibitions held both inside and outside Yemen."
Prominent work from the Colored Halos team
"We presented our first group work on Unity Day, May 22nd, 2006. We made a large drawing on a wall in a street in Hodeida which we called "A Fair land and a Forgiving Lord," said Al-Duba'i.
"It took a month to finish this drawing, and it received unexpected praise from critics. It was a great experience for us because we put our talents together in one drawing for the first time, depending on no one but ourselves to finish it," she added.
Regarding their methods, she added, "We agree upon a particular idea, and then we all start drawing according to our individual style. This is what distinguishes our team. We express the moment through the brush."
Pencil, coals, acrylic, oil paints, watercolors, cooper painting are the most important materials the team uses in its work.
Revolutionary colorful halos
The team put much of their work on hold during the popular youth revolution in Yemen. They didn't stop completely however, but participated in the revolution by way of an art exhibition held in Hodeida's Change Square, the profits from which were given to local people.
The team's participation
The team held several art training courses and participated in workshops both inside and outside Yemen.
Recently, the team participated in several exhibitions held in Yemen, including an exhibition at the Syrian Cultural House, an exhibition at the Al-Afif Cultural Foundation, the Egyptian Cultural House, an exhibition at the Knowledge Exchange Forum, the Female Media Forum and the Ministry of Culture, along with several exhibitions in Aden, Ta'iz and other major Yemeni cities.
As for participation abroad, the team participated in exhibitions held in Sweden, Egypt, and Jordan. The team's last exhibition abroad was held in the Fine Artists' Forum in Egypt early last month.
The team members joined the Women's Campaign International (WCI), an organization aimed at providing opportunities for Yemeni women to participate in public advocacy, market and political processes. They were chosen to work in the organisation's establishing committee.
Each member of the team received the Presidential Award for Art between 2006- 2009.
In a speech, the team members thanked all those who supported them in becoming successful female artists. Moreover, in an interview with the Yemen Times, they thanked their friends for consistent encouragement, particularly Khaled Al-Rwaishan, Yemen's former Minister of Culture.