Despite receiving relatively little coverage in the British and international media, the civil war that has raged in Yemen since 2015 has led what the UN describes as the “world’s worst” humanitarian crisis. The situation has left as many as 10,000 dead and an estimated 80% of the country’s men, women and children in desperate need of assistance. At least 8.4 million Yemenis are facing starvation in what could be the “worst famine seen anywhere in the world for 100 years” (UN), while the virtual collapse of the country’s healthcare system has resulted in the world’s largest cholera outbreak, killing thousands. Systematic torture is carried out in Houthi jails and by UAE officials across a network of secret prisons.
the UK’s first exhibition to address the on-going conflict and realities of life inside the country
Remarkably, Yemen: Inside a Crisis at Imperial War Museum North (open now and showing until January 2020) is billed as the UK’s first exhibition to address the on-going conflict and realities of life inside the country. Examining both the historic roots and more recent conditions created in the wake of the Arab Spring in 2011 that sparked the war, alongside other factors such as Britain’s complex involvement and the political turmoil of the wider Arab region, the exhibition will provide a vital introduction to what’s going on. But it will also focus on the personal stories and lived experiences of Yemenis citizens, and present a collection of around 50 objects and photographs relating to the crisis.
The exhibition is also accompanied by a series of new commissions, including Yemen: Say hello to connect – a travelling interactive digital artwork and activity hub created by FutureEverything that uses touch and voice-activated technology to highlight issues addressed in the exhibition; and Devoured (2019) – an installation by Yemeni street artist Murad Subay that seeks to metaphorically depict the state of physical and psychological suffering among the Yemeni population.
the civil war that has raged in Yemen since 2015 has led what the UN describes as the “world’s worst” humanitarian crisis
Yemen: Inside a Crisis has been curated with the support of Lead Advisor Iona Craig, an award-winning journalist who was based in Sanaa between 2010 and 2015 as Yemen correspondent for The Times. It forms part of IWM’s Conflict Now strand of programming, which features opinions of individuals who have seen, experienced and worked in areas of conflict.