Syrian artists in exile have taken on a sacred responsibility - as custodians of their culture. With more than 70 artworks, an exhibition in Jordan - entitled "Syria's History and Civilization" - reminds kin and kind of a treasured homeland.
The Citadel of Aleppo, dating back to the 3rd century BC, and the 2,000-year-old ruins of Palmyra, are symbols of an ancient and glorious culture now under attack. But these models serve as reminders of a lost legacy, as does this representation of a 600-year-old waterwheel.
Meanwhile, paintings nearby depict the stark realities of Syria today - destroyed buildings, the fires of war, the lost children.
The models were made by Syrian heritage researcher Khdawi Al Nabilsi, who escaped to Jordan after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. After so much destruction, he still believes the Syrian people will keep their common memories.
"The new generation has been born and raised in refugee camps. They didn't see the Citadel of Aleppo or the Hama Waterwheel. We want to tell those children, that these are the buildings in your motherland, this is what your home looks like, so that they won't be distant from their home country," Al Nabilsi said.
Mahmud Al Hariri was once an art student. He fled to Jordan after the Syrian crisis began. But instead of depicting war themes, he recalls better days.
"I chose to depict the past of Syria, the country that I once lived in. I didn't want to face the things that have been destroyed. I like painting things that were beautiful in my memory," Al Hariri said.
His new paintings are about dancing monks, hookah smokers, and juice peddlers. It's his first time using watercolors since he came to Jordan.
The so-called Islamic State has waged war on the region's cultural heritage after taking control of large stretches of Syria, along with northern and western Iraq. According to a UN report in 2014, nearly 300 cultural heritage sites have been destroyed, damaged, and looted since 2011 - actions widely condemned by cultural researchers, archeologists, and historians worldwide.
- Editor:Justine | Source: Agencies
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