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Yemen’s culture is of Arab heritage, divided between Sunni Muslims of the Sahafi school and Shi’a Muslims of the Zaidi school.
There are small groups of Jews, Hindus, and Christians. For example, in 1949 and 1950, about fifty thousand Yemeni Jews left for Israel. In 1998, migration and high infant mortality limited the annual growth rate. The birth rate is high, and almost half the population is under fifteen.
On the other side, in contrast to Sara’s soft features, her character is very straightforward. She grew up in the Bronx. I recalled talking to her about her ethnicity and their arranged alliance. She was so upset and replied, “She will deny it.” Years later, I found her already married, and she told me she was pleased with her new marriage. I was very happy for her.
The creative process came quickly. For I have a sketch of patterns from Celtic, Asian, and Arabic, Sara allowed me to draw her eyes and turn meaningful. I put them together in a simple composition with the entire movement.
Moreover, the colors are an improvisation. It was the end of springtime, and summer was around the corner. So, I decided to use dark blue and turquoise at the bottom. The silver marker creates a fascinating look, just like her wedding motif. Her eyes are of an innocent observing—nothing to hide and fear.
In conclusion, her portraiture is an allegory to her innocence and growth in a different society, which is more relevant than her ethnic country of birth.


“Sara” oil on canvas and mixed media, size 28″ x 38″ 2017

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