Conflict a key theme

Mosul hosts open-air art symposium highlighting heritage, reconstruction

MOSUL — The Art Pioneers Academy hosted an outdoor painting symposium on the left bank of the Tigris River in Mosul, set against the backdrop of the Old Bridge and the heritage houses marred by recent conflicts.

The event, which unfolded on Saturday, drew 15 artists ranging from seasoned professionals to budding amateurs, all intent on capturing the historic riverfront and its legacy encapsulated by Umm Al-Rabee’in.

Raed Qasim, the academy’s director, discussed the symposium’s objectives with 964media. “Our goal today is to use art to spotlight the ancient riverfront houses that represent our heritage and to convey to the authorities the critical need for reconstructing this area.

It has become a center for ‘dark tourism,’ drawing both international visitors and Iraqis from across the country eager to witness the devastation wrought upon the area and its cultural heritage,” said Qasim.

Freehand and live painting, recognized as some of the most demanding disciplines within the visual arts, necessitates a skill set not all artists have. Latif Yasin, one of the artists, shared his thoughts on this unique challenge with 964media. “While artists often draw from their imagination, today marks my initial foray into freehand painting in the neighborhoods of Al-Maidan, Al-Shahwan, and Al-Qula’at, adopting a palette that mirrors reality,” Yasin remarked.

Sara Al Mohammed, a biology teacher and painting aficionado from the “Baybukht” village school near Mosul, underscored the symposium’s educational value. “Our school harbors undiscovered talent, and I’ve always encouraged my students to pursue art. I brought my amateur students here today to immerse themselves in live painting, an invaluable exercise in nurturing their abilities,” Mohammed told 964media.