the hard season will split you through. do not worry. you will bleed water. do not worry. this is grief. your face will fall out and down your skin and there will be scorching but do not worry keep speaking the years(4)

Azal Al-Salafi’s Art is that of a survivor. One who is seperated by war from their homelands, and who dared to leap into the void. Her journey into the unknown is reflected in her work.

The world, Yemen, Germany

Azal was born in October 1988 in Abian, Yemen. Because of her father’s profession, she has traveled east-west since early childhood. This cosmopolitan upbringing shaped Azal’s thinking and her notion of freedom.

In 2013, Azal graduated with honors in International Law from Girne American University in Cyprus. She decided to return to her home country and practice law, even though the civil war in Yemen had come to a head.

As a modern woman in a conservative society she faced challenging conditions. Her environment deemed her independent lifestyle a break with tradition and a deliberate provocation. Due to the profession she chose, she did not enjoy any protection from the government. If her male colleagues were already having a hard time, it was next to impossible for Azal as a woman to practice her profession in this political climate.

Azal decided to visit her parents who were living in Germany since 2008. A few days after her arrival in Frankfurt war broke out in Yemen.

Art is survival

Knowing she could not return, she spiraled into a personal crisis. It was only by creating art that she could manage to overcome her inner struggles. Painting allows her to express confront and accept her experience. Azal’s signature is abstract automatism inspired by the surrealists of the twentieth century. In particular, she uses acrylic colours on canvas, with expressive meditative techniques away from the brushes and traditional tools, utilizing recycled cartoon papers, kitchen utensils and her most favourite sponges. Azal dedicates 50% of the proceeds to migrant related, carefully selected researches and initiatives.

In addition to her art work, Azal is the founder of Azal & Co. a legal and life advisory start-up based in Frankfurt am Main, which works on improving lives of migrants and fostering their well-being. Besides her consultancy work she has coached entrepreneurs at the Social Impact Lab Frankfurt and was a project assistant for the project Start Hope @Home.

Azal currently attends her Masters in Human Rights & Democratization at the Global Campus of Human Rights and Democracy at Saint Joseph University of Beirut.

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