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Damascus Keeps Inspiring Syrian Artists

Damascus, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, has been a source of inspiration to many Syrian artists whose paintbrushes continue to depict the city’s beauty and matchless glorious history.

 Syrian plastic artists Asem Zakarayya, Mohammad Nazeer al-Baroudi and Hisham al-Khayyat, who represent different schools of art, expressed their love to Damascus by depicting the intimate details of the Damascene life in more than thirty paintings which are currently on show at the Abu Rummaneh Cultural Center in Damascus.

Works displayed at the exhibition, which was held under the patronage of the Culture Ministry, showed the way each one of the artists sees Damascus.

Artist al-Baroudi's fourteen paintings embodied the Damascene environment, its traditional vocations even the barber and the hakawati. The artist also pictured Damascus gates with great passion using red and green oil colours which, according to him, suggest optimism, hope and vividness.

Artist and Architect Hisham Khayyat depicted in his ten panels the wonderful Damascene houses, alleys, districts and khans. He tried to employ his architectural skills in his works using shade and light beautifully to make the painted material looks normal.

In a statement to SANA, al-Khayyat said that being an architect, he used degrees of black and white colours to make his works different from those of other artists.

In his paintings, artist Asem Zakarayya lets the simple life of people in Damascus old alleys and the natural scenes in the old city speak about the peaceful nature of the Damascenes.

Haidar Yazeji, Head of the Plastic Artists Union, said the paintings participating in the exhibition are very distinguished as they have deep themes and document the intimate atmosphere of people's life in Damascus.

"We have to preserve these documentary panels either through encouraging artists or asking them to work on such subjects as most artists are living in the old but historically rich city," Yazegi said.

Critic Marwan Murad said that the Syrian plastic art movement  has witnessed notable development, pointing out that each one of the artists participating in the exhibition has a special technique, but they share love to Damascus, the beloved of all Syrians.

Murad added that artist Khayyat was so creative in using his pencil to draw beautiful miniatures and decorations usually found at Damascene houses.

H. Mustafa