Murad Subay assembles selected selfies into collages and individual posters and uses them to draw attention to the ongoing conflict in Yemen – one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises with millions of people threatened by starvation.
A project by Murad Subay.
...in conversation with Murad Subay about the power of Art
Since the outbreak of the war, Murad Subay has been painting on walls and ruins across Yemen. With his art, he shows the devastating consequences of war, poverty, and disease, and denounces the war crimes of all parties involved – including those in the West, whose arms exports are contributing to Yemeni suffering. Today he lives and works in exile.
Between 16 - 25 September 2021, he exhibits his series "Faces of War Selfie"
Murad Subay: Yemeni Artist
Amidst ruins about the Yemeni artist Murad Subay
Since the outbreak of the war, Murad Subay has been painting on walls and ruins across Yemen. With his art he shows the devastating consequences of war, poverty and disease, and denounces the war crimes of all parties involved – including those in the West, whose arms exports are contributing to Yemeni suffering. With his 2012 art project ‘The Walls Remember their Faces’, he documented the violent disappearance of over one hundred missing people by painting portraits of them together with their relatives on walls.
Murad Subay was born in the city of Dhamar in the highlands of Yemen before he moved to Sanaa with his family as a child. Encouraged by his family, he began painting at the age of fourteen. He studied English literature at the University of Sanaa, where he gained his first experience in politics during student demonstrations. When protests took place in Yemen in 2011 during the Arab Spring, Murad Subay also took to the streets. In 2012, he launched his first art campaign, ‘Color the Walls of your Street’, with which he encouraged young people, in particular, to use paint to beautify the walls that had been left in ruins by the war.
A painting of a family on the wall of a destroyed house with a raven sitting on it. A girl watering a flower growing from a bomb.An oversized bomb on a wall with a peace sign on top of it. Some of his motifs are reminiscent of the artist Banksy, with whom he is often compared. The motifs in his campaign ‘Faces of War’ are so direct it hurts: the first in the series shows an emaciated face three times. Instead of eyes, black holes stare into nothingness – it is a trilogy of war, hunger and disease.
A text by Vassilios Saroglou