“Youth Inventions” at Damascus Citadel

 Damascus Citadel is currently hosting the 2nd National Sculpture and Painting Forum titled “Youth Inventions”. Twenty young Syrian artists are working tirelessly in the open air to embody their feelings and ideas in wonderful pieces of art in a sort of workshop organized by the Applied Arts Institute in cooperation with the Directorate of Fine Arts.

All will have the opportunity to see the produced sculpts and drawings within an exhibition to be held in the same site at the end of the Forum on November 4th. Encouraging the participants, the organizing body will give financial awards and certificates to participants.

The forum is being held as our homeland is passing through hard times and the lives of all the Syrians have been terribly affected by the crisis. But holding such events stresses that the Syrian people, particularly the youth, have unwavering determination to defy hard circumstances and defend their ambitions in realizing a brighter future for Syria.


To shed more light, “The Syria Times” toured the location and seized this opportunity to talk to the artists.

 Dr. Tareq al-Sawwah, a prominent Syrian sculptor and Director of Applied Arts Institute, confirmed the forum’s being as a bridge keeping contacts between cultural institutions and young artists.

The participants, ten sculptors and ten painters, were chosen after a competition by a neutral artistic jury committee.

“The success of the First “Youth Inventions” Sculpture Forum  last year, and the outstanding skills and professionalism of our artists encouraged us to expand this year’s forum to include painting aiming at providing opportunity to many talented young artists to appear and show their inventions,” al-Sawwah said, commending the Culture Ministry’s cooperation and keenness to sponsor the artists and provide them with all facilities.

 “Seeds to produce creative and innovative young generation are abundant in our country as Syria in particular and the Mediterranean region in general, is the place where civilizations started and flourished producing talented people,” he said, stressing that today, our young potentials are not less talented than those of old times. But actually they need a sponsor to adopt their talent.

Why Damascus Citadel?

“We chose Damascus Citadel as a place to hold the forum as it is a symbol of Syria’s civilization and is actually a source of inspiration to artists,” Dr. Al-Sawwah said, adding that the Applied Arts Institute is located within the Citadel itself so students can keep in touch with the young artists and benefit from the techniques and mechanisms used in inventing artistic works.

Nisreen al-Saleh, a sculptor, said “having  previous contributions to stone sculpture forums, I found a difference in dealing with wood material. The stone is too hard while wood is more flexible and "romantic", so it needs some sort of tenderness while dealing with curves. The forum ensures me suitable conditions that my own art studio can’t provide.”
"In my sculpt, “Woman”, I made very simple and streamlining surfaces depending on light and shadow to add more aesthetical touch to the piece,” she said.

Sculptor Muntajeb Yousef, whose sculpt embodies a “Cock” standing proudly to symbolize strength and pride, said “a kind of relationship and spiritual dialogue is established between the artist and his sculpt,” pointing out that artists view things as sculptural pieces to which artists can add aesthetical elements.

Sandi Ahmad, also a sculptor, said “the forum allowed me to exchange expertise and ideas with other artists who each have a special technique serving the diversity of sculptural works".

"My work, “Body Dialogue”, depicts a male and a female united in one body telling that both share life-making and can’t be separated," Sandi added

Juliana Salloum, a painter, said “working in the open air with other colleagues enriches artists' knowledge, boosts their expertise and builds more self-confidence, stressing that each panel contains a struggle between colors and elements on the one hand and artists’ emotions and daily life practices on the other.

The idea of my painting “the Starting and the Ending”, is depicted in a woman body to indicate that the woman, the symbol of fertility, is the machine-life like which starts life and the vessel which can contain and find solution to all problems. My other work is called “the Sea” to stress how much we need relaxation at the present.

Family atmosphere and social cohesion was clear among participants helping them get out of the stressful state, caused by the current circumstances in the country, and feel more relaxed and more inventive.


Hamda Mustafa