What is Basement?
From the Basement Cultural Foundation Facebook page:
Basement is an independent civil society organization which was registered in 2012.
Basement aims to create positive change in the Yemeni society by increasing community participation.
We work on fostering volunteerism activities and work on raising awareness in the community on issues of culture, society, and politics. Basement is self funded and sustainable from members and volunteers contributions.
From Al Madaniya Magazine:
The war in Yemen has not stopped the Basement Cultural Foundation (BCF) from holding events. Art and music can provide quite a different atmosphere (one of peace and hope) to what’s happening around the country.
BCF’s executive director Shaima Jamal says that the organization was the first liberal one in a conservative community where it is often frowned about for women and girls to play music or meet in the same gathering as men. BCF had to register as a governmental cultural institution because of all its challenges it was facing, including being shutdown for a few months after a local Imam advertised them as being immoral. “We have to continue supporting art because it will make change and will convey to the world a good picture of Yemen and Yemenis who are eager for peace. It will convey a [good] picture, aside from the aspects of the war that stained every beauteous thing in a country that is a home to diverse kinds of arts.”
Recently, BCF held a debate on the role of art in Yemeni society. Is it beneficial or not needed?
The debate began with the following questions: Does art have importance in Yemeni society? Does it have a role in alleviating suffering and creating public awareness about humanitarian issues or is it merely a form of luxury and entertainment?
In a modestly equipped room attendees listened to the debate, with each side providing arguments to convince the audience about their respective positions on art. Eventually, the group proposing the idea of art’s importance in life won the largest portion of the audience vote. By engaging in the debate, all participants came to realize that art is one of the most effective tools for tackling violence and terrorism.
Debates are held about once every four months.
Other activities include the Knowledge Sharing Forum and the Cinema Show.
And now for a video from their Youtube channel, which anyone can enjoy watching since the audio is only music. (Except for the tv program at one point, but I think it’s fine without.)