He sells them at exorbitant prices.. An Iraqi sculptor turns old wooden doors into ship models
Basra – Iraqi sculptor Asaad Salman Al-Sayyad has been creating miniature models of traditional and modern ships sailing in the Shatt Al-Arab in Basra Governorate, by recycling old wooden doors and others.
Al-Sayyad’s creations succeeded in attracting the attention of many inside and outside Basra, due to the beauty of their mastery and their role in preserving an important part of the heritage of that ancient city.
In his conversation with Al-Jazeera Net, Al-Sayyad says that he started working from a young age, and his beginnings were with sculpting on clay and stone, and in 2010 he began making heritage ships because they are part of the history of the city of Basra from the marshes, Shatt Al-Arab and the Arabian Gulf.
He added that he made several types of sailing ships, including the Saffar Boom, Al Shuai, Al Sanbuk, Al Bateel, Al Jalibut, and Al Mulla, in addition to the Decathlon and Fishing Seals, and each ship has a different price from the other according to its size and details.
Regarding the tools used in the manufacture of artistic models, he says, “I use carpentry tools and hand tools, and some tools I made myself due to the difficulty of their availability. I used several types of wood in the industry, the best of which are the old doors of teak because they have been through a period of time and have withstood the climatic conditions and proven their quality.”
Al-Sayyad runs his project from a small workshop inside his house, as he does not receive any support, expressing his ambition to expand his project as it is part of the history and heritage of all Gulf countries.
He points out that he has used social media to publish and market his work, such as Facebook and Instagram, and aspires to communicate it to the community more inside and outside the country, participate in international exhibitions, and set up a navigational museum in Basra that collects everything related to heritage from the marshes to the Gulf.
He points out that some of his acquaintances helped him in marketing his works, some of which reached outside Iraq, such as Kuwait, the UAE and others.
For his part, Dr. Majid Hamid Al-Jubouri, professor of literature and theater criticism, and one of Al-Sayyad’s clients, says, “I followed the work of this sculptor who specializes in carving on wood, and this type of carving is one of the most difficult sculpting arts because it requires extreme precision and complex handling with a raw material that is not malleable in the sculpting process.”
And he notes in his speech to Al Jazeera Net that “this work requires technical skills and not one skill, as the sculptor must be skilled in the process of digging wood, and be skilled in the process of structuring the form and its basic and secondary lines, and he must have a skilled eye in capturing and embodying details on a material This is why many sculptors avoid the art of engraving on wood because of its difficulty and accuracy, and the need for long patience for the sculptor to possess it.”
Al-Jubouri believes that the fisherman’s creativity of ship models is not considered an industry or a craft as much as it is an artistic and aesthetic creativity that rises to the level of artwork, and leaves the field of manufacturing to enter the science of creativity and its vast spaces.
And about the importance of the matter, he says that the wooden ship industry began to gradually disappear, as ships made of iron and aluminum invaded the seas. Therefore, what the artist (Al-Sayyad) creates is very important in terms of preserving the heritage of an industry for which visual families were famous, especially in the regions of Abi Al-Khasib and Al-Faw. Therefore, what this artist does is truly a reminder and preservation of a popular and local heritage that deserves care, support and praise.
The sculptor Ahmed Al-Saad, head of the Society of Plastic Artists in Basra, confirms that the skill possessed by the fisherman is remarkable, and it is a craft that is related to mastering carpentry and closely following the shapes of ancient ships.
He explains to Al-Jazeera Net that the manufacturer, in order to be accurate, must possess a culture and a wide knowledge of the shapes of ships in a scientific manner, otherwise the issue becomes nothing more than decoration, and these models cannot be adopted in museums, but are only suitable for personal acquisition.
The Syndicate of Fine Artists explains that supporting talents is the duty of the state and the owners of capital, and more important than direct support is to provide opportunities to display their products, display marketing doors, and adopt the definition of such arts and this history.
Al-Saad stresses the importance of these works in preserving heritage, because they are evidence of the nature of the work of part of the community members and the way they live, and what they excelled in in terms of industry used for transport, fishing and trade.
He expresses his belief that everything depends on the individual, and the real talent must possess the will to continue and develop his talent by arming himself with culture first and then finding ways to highlight and market his products through them, and not underestimate his talent and insist on it.
Al-Jubouri expresses his deep regret at the absence of official institutions or bodies that take care of young people, especially after 2003, because those who lead these institutions and official bodies, including the state’s cultural institutions, are busy competing for seats without serious and active interest in culture, so it is noted that a large number One of the civil society institutions is the one that has done this task.
It calls on all intellectuals, critics, researchers and civil society organizations to seriously advance to nurture such unique, qualitative and rare talents. It also calls upon young talents not to be neglected by official cultural institutions.
Al-Jubouri stressed the need to market the creativity of talented young people, and media channels and various means of communication and communication can contribute to the marketing promotion of youth creativity, and civil society organizations, cultural ones in particular, can work to display and market these creations outside Iraq: first for their financial return, which will pay Talented young people get more communication and giving, and secondly, because it presents a bright picture of the present Iraq, which has been distorted by images of booby-traps, crime, uncontrolled weapons and corruption.