Shaima makes use of her talent to sculpt figures using clay, using symbolism from Iraqi culture, to earn a living for her family.
The violence and repression of ISIS rule left a deep impact on the people of Mosul and Nineveh province, who were severely restricted in their daily lives by the laws imposed on them by the terrorist group. One internally displaced person from Mosul, Shaima, is now residing in Hillah, in central Iraq, and is expressing the culture of Nineveh through her artwork, without any limitations.
Shaima began to attend a pottery course organised by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), related to the United Nations (UN), and her talent for sculpting was recognised by her teachers. She makes use of the heritage of Nineveh’s ancient civilisations to create sculptures that reflect themes and figures inspired by the region’s culture.
Shaima’s use of motifs from Nineveh’s ancient culture represents the will of the people of the province to resist ISIS’ former totalitarian rule which sought to exterminate all traces of culture that did not fit neatly into the terrorist group’s warped vision of human nature.
Mosul has experienced somewhat of a cultural revival after the liberation of the city in mid-July of 2017. The people of Mosul are putting together theatrical performances, playing music, opening cafes dedicated to the discussion of literature and so on.
There are also several individuals, like Shaima, who use their art to express the lives of the people of Mosul both during, before and after the ISIS occupation. One artist, Khaleef Mahmoud, is a native of Mosul and he presented his artwork at the Orfali Art Centre in the Jordanian capital of Amman. He also incorporates elements of the life and architecture of Mosul in his watercolour paintings, comparing the vibrant colours of the city’s people and streets with the pain and suffering that the local population experienced under ISIS rule.
These individual and group initiatives demonstrate the resolve of the people of Mosul to fight back against the ideology of ISIS that is being driven out of the city and the country as a whole.