Breaking News

W.Istanbuli,Father of Sculpture in Syria




Born in Aleppo , north Syria in 1940, Waheed Istanbuli was the first teacher of sculpture at the Fine Arts Centre.

Waheed studied the fine arts in Austria from 1961 till 1966.

In 1968, he made the"Fertility" (the biggest statue in Syria).

 It is installed at the entrance Aleppo city. In 1984, Waheed made the final touches to his great work  "Al-Battani" that stood at the entrance of Al-Raqqa city.

Waheed won a number of local, Arab and foreign awards. Many of his sculptures decorate the public squares and streets in addition to private houses in some of the country's towns and cities.

Waheed is viewed by arts critics as one of the founders of contemporary Syrian art of sculpture.

He   was renowned for his small-size sculptures in addition to large-size ones including Al-Battani and Fertility.

Old and modern prominent Arab dignitaries drew Waheed's attention .Hence, he exerted strenuous efforts to make them in the hall of fame through his sculptures.

Waheed Istanbuli passed away in Aleppo in 1994 after a long suffering from kidney disease.


Maysa Wassouf




“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




Boosting Syrian Plastic Artist Imperative

 DAMASCUS,(ST)- Bolstering the role of Syrian plastic arts is the main task of the Damascus-based Directorate of Plastic Arts.

For this purpose, the 2012 DPA agenda includes a number of activities, mainly holding exhibitions, seminars and international forums.

To shed more light on the said activities, Aktham Abdul Hamid, the Plastic Arts Institution Director, was quoted as saying " The program starts in September(2012) and lasts till August 2013.

The 1st event will be held in Sweida ( the 3rd painting Forum)

 On the sidelines of the said forum, seminars that tackle the ties between plastic arts and the main genres of literature will be held in addition to musical parties.

Dr. Nizar Azmeh and Abdullah Abu Rashid are due to give lectures.

By holding these exhibitions, seminars and lectures, the DPA endeavors to   enhance the role of the Syrian art in all its forms in both local and international forums. The main purpose of the session this year is to link literature to the plastic arts.

Many products and works of Syrian artists to be presented in the exhibitions will show their creativity, talents and experience with the aim of enabling them to take part in international forums.

"On this year's agenda, an exhibition of  types of calligraphy and photography and ceramics, will be organized, under the motto "Syria is the home of every one",Abdul Hamid confirmed.

Furthermore, other exhibitions of Arabic calligraphy, and photography  entitled "Syria in the eyes of creative artists" in Khan Asaad Pasha, will also be held.

"On the other hand, we seek through these exhibitions to represent the products of sculpture on wood of many artists,'' said Abdul Hamid, citing the importance of the coming exhibition  and  national forum for painting in Quneitra under the title: " Golan in the eyes of Syrian artist ".

" We will try to participate in an international forums and festivals due to be held  participation in Iran " ,Abdul Hamid concluded.


Maysa Wassouf


Hind Haroun: Poetess of Maternity and Khansaa of her Age

Hind Haroun, a Syrian poetess from the city of Lattakia, was born in 1927 to a family whose members resisted the French occupation for years and suffered greatly from its inhuman practices. Some of the family members were displaced, others were persecuted, imprisoned or sentenced to death, a thing that forced the poetess’s uncle Sheikh Monah Haroun to flee the country to save his life.

 Poetess Haroun excelled in her study, she wrote poetry when she was in preparatory school and published her poems, at that time, in newspapers under the nickname of (Bint Alsahel). Haroun got a diploma of primary education, she worked as a teacher, then as the director of (Alkarama) Secondary School and later as the head of the Arab Writers Union in Lattakia.

 Haroun wrote more than 4,000 poems on several themes like, homeland, love, maternity, sadness and land-man relationship. Her most distinguished collections of poems are:  (The Temple Robber in 1977), (Diwan Ammar in 1979), ( Sun of Love in 1981), (Between Anchorage and Sail in 1984), and ( Ammar in the Conscience of Maternity).

The poetess experienced very tragic moments during the illness of her only son Ammar and after his death of cancer at the age of 17. This catastrophe inspired her to write unique poems lamenting her lost maternity and expressing the bitterness of losing a loved one.

On the beginning of her poetic career, Haroun once said: "I started to say poetry when I was a child and even before I knew how to write. In the beginning I wrote small innocent love poems and then moved to the nationalistic poetry which was a true revolution against the division of the Arab homeland, and a euphoria  because of attaining Arab unity,” (namely the 1958 Unity between Syria and Egypt.)

She pointed out that in literature, there is no difference between women and men and “I wonder why people make this kind of distinction.”

“I don’t classify my works as women poetry as I can't assess my position, but I admit that maternity poetry is more exclusive to women than men, and maybe I was distinguished in describing mothers’ feelings," Haroun said.

She added: “Among the pioneer women poetesses who enriched the poetry movement in Lattakia were: Fatat Ghassan, Talaat Al-Rifai, Aziza Haroun, Fatma Haddad and Nabiha Haddad, the poet of pain and image.”

Poetess Haroun participated in many poetry festivals in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and France. She got honorary doctorate from the World Federation of Authors. Some of her poems were translated into French, English, Bulgarian and German.

The poetess spent her last years with her daughters and at school until she died in 1995.


Maysaa Wassouf

Ghassan Massoud: Syrian Army, Guarantee of Country’s Strength, Unity, Sovereignty

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ During the first months of Syria events, many Syrian artists appeared repeatedly on national screens to express their views regarding the going, starting from the enlightenment role they are entitled to play as to form objective and balanced public opinion. However, this role suffered a kind of retreat and some artists preferred to distance themselves and keep silent because of convulsive and exaggerated stances by some Syrians advocating false “democracy” and “freedom”.

 Syrian world star Actor, Ghassan Massoud, was recently the guest of the Syrian “Al-Ikhbariya” channel program to break the silence and clarify his viewpoint on the Syrian crisis.

 Trying his best to be objective, Syrian actor Massoud wasn’t a hypocrite neither to the government nor to the “opposition”, but in certain moments he was brave enough to dig deep into all stances and ideas which went far in violating national principles and human nature.

 He said “no one in Syria or abroad can believe that the United States has the slightest intension to bring “democracy” to Syria or to any other country,” stressing that the U.S. is seeking to sow chaos and terrorism in the country with the help of some Syrians who have exploited the US hostile stances towards their homeland.

 Bitterly and disappointedly, the world star talked about how some Syrians inside the country had turned themselves into “firewood” to feed the strife and destroy the state’s institutions just to please some parties abroad seeking personal political benefits. He pointed out that the state’s institutions are actually the achievements and properties of the Syrian people over the past decades, so destroying them is unforgivable.

 The world actor made it clear that he rejects all attempts by those who call themselves “opposition” to spoil the reputation of the Syrian Arab Army, the symbol of Syria’s national sovereignty.

 “How did they allow themselves to demonize the army and call for shedding its blood? Any insult or harm to the army is an insult to me personally and an insult to my father and mother too,” Massoud said, adding that he himself had served in this military institution.

  “This is the army of the Syrian Arab Republic, it is the guarantee of the country’s strength, unity, security and sovereignty, and no one has the right to harm it neither by word nor by deeds” the actor stressed, pointing out that this Army had lost thousands of soldiers in Lebanon in confrontation of the Israeli aggression against South Lebanon.

 Massoud, who criticized attempts to incite military aggression against his country, didn’t forget to talk about the “media craziness” embodied by the malicious campaign launched against Syria by Arab and international mass media which scarified their credibility to serve certain political goals.

 He blessed the National Reconciliation Ministry’s efforts which led some people who got involved in the country’s current events to return to the lap of their homeland, asserting that this is a wise step in the right direction to overcome the crisis and urging all the Syrians who carried the weapon against their fellow citizens to hand their weapons over to the authorities.

 Syrian actor and filmmaker Ghassan Massoud, 54, is known internationally for playing the role of Muslim ruler Saladin in Ridley Scott’s film “Kingdom of Heaven”. He also starred in other foreign movies including the “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Art of World’s End”. In Syria, Massoud appeared in many Syrian-made films.

  Hamda Mustafa