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A Syrian artist transforms wood into mosaic artworks that embody Syrian deep-rooted history

Wood is a masterpiece created by nature. With a charming artistic touch, the researcher and artist Raouf Hanna Bitar from Lattakia province has spent 20 years among the woods which he gets from different types of trees to make distinguished mosaic artworks that embody the Syrian deep-rooted civilization and recall the greatness of the region’s heritage in addition to their artistic and aesthetic value.

Syriatimes e-newspaper visited Bitar’s small workshop in Lattakia where he spends several hours daily to executing masterpieces of wood mosaic paintings including those which embody the symbols of civilization and heroes of the most famous epics in our region throughout including Gilgamish, the god Baal,, the goddess Ishtar and queen Zanobia in addition to some immortal quotes addressed to Syria more than five thousands years ago..

"Art is love, peace and an expression of our inner world. Every one, who has got a Syrian identity, should feel that he is the greatest person on this land because he is the son of the Syrian land which is famous for its strong and deep-rooted civilization, energy and collective unity spirit” the researcher Bitar told the Syriatimes e-newspaper.

 “Art documents the history of every homeland. Through my wood mosaic artworks I was keen on highlighting the greatness of this region’s civilization with the help of what researchers have documented in this field” he added.

 “ I depend in my artworks on the wood of this land which is rich in different kinds of trees, colors and characteristic such as olives, lemons, almonds and berries so that they can be dried, packaged and treated” the 65-year-old Bitar, told the Syriatimes e-newspaper.

The painting passes through many stages before coming to light, which the artist Bitar summarized as : identifying the idea and the quality of the wood that fits the painting, sorting out the wood pieces and then painting.

 “ patience, calm, accuracy and clarity of mind are most needed to complete the artwork. I am very proud when I highlight the Syrian deep-rooted heritage through my artworks” the researcher Bitar stressed.

He pointed out that he had not received any academic study of art but he was attracted to present a distinguished art combining wood mosaic, mechanical drawing and energy science after realizing the splendor and beauty of the stone mosaic artworks in Syria.

Bitar, who has mastered this art for more than 15 years, has participated in many local exhibitions and presented to the Latin Church in Lattakia a number of huge wood mosaic artworks.

The researcher and artist Bitar is interested in turning metal mechanics into wood mechanics through art. He is currently making medical wood tools based on energy science and used in therapies through general external massage stimulating the nerve endings with the hope of achieving good results after being used by specialized doctors and therapists.

Interviewed by : Rawaa Ghanam

Photos by : Rawaa Ghanam