The exhibition explores the astonishing variety of building styles and traditions that have evolved over millennia in a region of diverse terrains, extreme climates and distinctive local histories. Generations of highly-skilled masons, carpenters and craftspeople have deftly employed the materials-to-hand and indigenous technologies to create urban architectural assemblages, gardens and rural landscapes that dialogue harmoniously with the natural contours and conditions of southern Arabia. In turn, the place-making practices of Yemen’s builders have played a significant role in fostering tight-knit communities with a strong sense of pride and distinct cultural identities.
Regrettably, a sharp escalation in violence in the country since the 1990s has culminated in hydra-headed conflict, involving international adversaries. The region’s rich cultural heritage, too, has been a casualty of the conflict. The principal objective of this exhibition, therefore, is to remind the public of Yemen’s tremendous cultural creativity and the need for international collaboration protect it and its people from the destructive forces that have beset the region.