While political turmoil and a devastating conflict have plunged Yemen into an economic and humanitarian crisis, residents in Aden in a move towards normalcy and a brighter future, are celebrating the country’s rich heritage in a three-day exhibition.
Organized by local residents and NGOs, the Aden Exhibition displayed art and artefacts, as well as traditional jewelry and local craftsmanship, highlighting Yemeni culture.
Large crowds of men, women and children attended the three-day Aden Exhibition, which opened on Wednesday at the lighthouse in Crater district.
The first edition of the exhibition was held last summer, but due to power cuts, the organizers were not able to hold it indoors, which led to the decision to make it an annual outdoor event.
Local activist Noor Surib, who attended the exhibition, said it focused on “old Aden” and the way of life in the city. She explained that there was live music performances and art drawings by sand.
Return to normal life
For many, the exhibition marks a return to normal life after approximately two years of instability.
Suicide bombings and assassinations, mostly by al-Qaeda and the ISIS group’s local affiliate, began to take place shortly after Houthi militias attempted a coup against President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi’s government in Sanaa in September 2014.
However, local resident Nadeem Salmeen told Al Arabiya English that the city is currently safe.
“The idea of the exhibition to be open in the street and not inside a hall confirms Aden’s security,” Salmeen said, adding that despite all the suffering, people are trying to live a normal life again.
Earlier this year, Aden residents burned tires and blocked roads in protests against fuel shortages, power cuts, delayed salaries and a lack of services. Others continue to hold demonstrations demanding that southern Yemen, which was independent until 1990, secede again.
Salmeen explained that events and activities like these are important as they are a means to restoring “the joy lost due to the loss” that was caused by ongoing conflict.
According to the United Nations, the war in Yemen has so far killed more than 10,000 people since September 2014.