Feature: Syrian artist creates Great Wall painting with olive kernels

(Xinhua) 08:23, December 17, 2021

DAMASCUS, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- Mazen Shaiban has been composing 3D paintings about life in old Damascus for over 25 years. With an aspiration to become an internationally-renowned artist, he began to create artworks about world landmarks, including the Great Wall of China.

Over the last two decades, Shaiban has created a remarkable collection of artworks using various materials, such as hay and oily materials, the most recent of which are olive kernels.

"During the war that has engulfed Syria, I wanted to make something special through the olive kernels, because olive is a symbol of peace and love and our country needs peace and love," the 50-year-old man said.

At a venue near the airport road in Damascus, the man keeps some of his works, mostly 3D paintings about the ancient architecture of old Damascus such as the architecture during the Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid dynasty.

After making various paintings about Damascus and other Arab countries, the man decided to do something more challenging. He started to create an art piece about the Great Wall of China.

At first, he spent a whole week just looking at photos of the Great Wall because he had never seen it in person. Still, it was hard for him to gain a complete understanding of the characteristics of the Great Wall.

Despite the difficulties, he created the painting using thousands of olive kernels. He said it took him around 100 days to finish the piece, noting that it was one of the toughest artworks he has ever made.

He made the Great Wall painting and other artworks at a sidewalk near a shop which he rented after losing the print house he owned during the war.

"All these paintings have been done on a sidewalk, no artist in the world would spend a year and a half working on one painting in front of the people through all the seasons despite cold and heat," he said.

Shaiban said he admires Chinese architecture, hoping that one day he will be doing a 3D painting of the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.

"I really hope I could do more paintings about China because there are many significant and mesmerizing monuments that I admire," he said.

He also hoped he could travel to China to personally visit the monuments he loves, particularly the Great Wall that he had depicted without visiting the site.

Nowadays, Shaiban faces difficulties securing enough olive kernels as such substance is being used to generate heat and power amid the scarcity of fuel and electricity in the country.

But he is determined to continue with his endeavor to create more artworks, saying that he wants people to see more about the beauty of the world from his works. 

(Web editor: Shi Xi, Liang Jun)


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