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The Higher Institute for Environmental Research in Lattakia hosts an art exhibition on Syria’s traditional crafts

“ Syria has been famous throughout history for its various traditional handicrafts which have an  important place in Syrian heritage . They are distinguished in terms of high-quality, beauty , art and skill in which craftsmen depended on their mental skills and professional experience, making their crafts characterized by accuracy and innovation” Dr. Hajar Nasser , Dean of the Higher Institute for Environmental Research at Tishreen University in Lattakia said in a statement to Syriatimes e-newspaper on the sideline of opening an art exhibition on Syrian traditional handicrafts .   

She stressed that “ Based on their pride and keenness on preserving the Syrian deep-rooted traditional handicrafts, Syrian youths seek to revive these crafts through using modern technologies”.   

Dr. Hajar Nasser pointed out that the artworks, which were inspired by the local environment and reflected the richness of Syrian civilization of traditional handicrafts , varied between engraving on stone, wood and copper, making straw dishes, decorating pottery and transforming silk into decorative paintings at homes and offices in addition to manufacturing paper and glass.

 Dr. Nasser underscored that the exhibition is a translation of the revival of traditional crafts as a cultural heritage of Syria's human history, through the participation of all sectors as well as supporting these industries and encouraging craftsmen to continue and teach them to future generations and seek to develop them using modern technology.  

The artworks presented by university students at the faculties of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Architecture Engineering as well as Fine Arts at Tishreen University in addition to craftsmen from Lattakia, Tartous and Homs. 

The cultural event , which was held under the title “Architecture, Art and heritage” was accompanied by a workshop on Syria’s traditional handicrafts with the aim of introducing and marketing them at the world level . 

The workshop came within the framework of a number of activities carried out in Lattakia by HANDS project funded by the European Union ( EU)  through Erasmus+ program , according to Dr. Moussa Al-Samara, a professor at the Higher Institute for Environmental Research and the national coordinator of  HANDS project .

He told Syriatimes that  HANDS project, which  is a Traditional Craft Heritage Training, Design and Marketing in Jordan and Syria, concentrates  on providing Jordanian and Syrian students with competences and skills needed by the labor market.

Dr. Al-Samra underlined that HANDS project aims to transfer the vast craft experience and knowledge into academic vocational training courses in high education in Jordan and Syria by adopting appropriate strategies.

Dr. Al-Samara pointed out that the exhibition comes within the framework HANDS project to develop higher education curricula to serve the colleges that work in the field of traditional crafts, especially architecture, fine arts, mechanical and electrical engineering and economy .   

He noted the importance of electronic marketing of students’ outputs which contribute towards transforming  the vast craft knowledge into media to help spread the traditional craft culture within societies.   

Dr. Al- Smara described the exhibition as an opportunity to shed light on the students’ artworks made from natural and waste materials that can be recycled to give them an artistic feature that can be well invested.   

“ our main goal through such activities is providing job opportunities for university students through establishing connection between the academic education and craft society as well as training and qualifying craftsmen to use up-to-date technologies ” Dr.Al-Samara stressed.   

“ Despite the hard circumstances the Syrian people are facing , the scientific research process continues . The students’ achievements is our message to the world that Syria will not stop developing, innovating and excel through the competence and skills of Syrian youths” he concluded.   

Craftswoman, Roge Ibrahim from Tartous Governorate, said that her participation in the exhibition focused on making paintings from silk through which she seeks to revive this craft because of its valuable value, especially the silk veil ( Hijab) that was used by Syrian women in the past.   

From Homs Eng. Enaam Hammouda said that her participation in the exhibition was through drawing decorative Ugarit alphabet and some symbols associated  with Phoenician mythology such as anemones on pottery that express the local environment.   

The craftswoman , Jumana Ibrahim, from Tartous said that she had made straw dishes to revive this authentic heritage, pointing out that the exhibition provided her an opportunity to display her products and contribute to their marketing.   

The craftsman, Eng. Aziz Jubeili from Lattakia, explained that his craft focuses on engraving on wood, plastic, metals and various types of materials, stressing that the exhibition contributed to introducing traditional handicrafts locally and abroad.   

Interviewed by : Rawaa Ghanam 

Photos by : Rawaa Ghanam