News Column

Local, int'l artists make sculptures out of UJ's damaged trees

June 17, 2014

by Muath Freij | Jun 16, 2014 | 23:30

AMMAN – For German artist Anne Hille, working with wood is fantastic because it has its own language.  

Her wood sculpture "Rising Memories", created at the University of Jordan (UJ), has a title that alludes to the Cypress Memory art initiative, launched by UJ in January. 

"It is a kind of an open title, but trees have their own memories and we can combine them with our own memories," Hille told The Jordan Times.

"I met also people who told me that you do not remember days but you remember nice moments so it was part of how I got the title. The title is also kind of related to this event," she said.

Hille is one of several international and Jordanian artists who took part in the second phase of the university's Cypress Memory initiative.  

UJ decided to hold the second phase of the project as part of the sixth international forum for sculptors, held by the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in cooperation with the Greater Amman Municipality, according to the project's coordinator Fuad Khasawneh

In the initial phase of Cypress Memory, students and staff of UJ's faculty of fine arts created sculptural works using the trees that were damaged in a snowstorm that hit the Kingdom last December. 

Khasawneh, who is also assistant to the dean for student affairs at the faculty of fine arts, said 10 artists from Australia, Germany, Morocco, Oman, Iraq, Sweden, Bahrain and Palestine are taking part in the project.

In addition, 30 Jordanians are participating in the second phase, 10 of whom are UJ students, he added.

"We wanted to bring together as many international artists as possible so that our students could benefit from their experience."

After the artists finish their work, the sculptures will be displayed around Amman and at the national gallery in Jabal Luweibdeh.

A total of 50 pieces will be completed during this phase, which started on June 8 and is expected to conclude on June 22, Khasawneh said, adding that 30 works were created during the previous phase.

He noted that organisers did not impose a specific theme and let each artist illustrate the theme of his/her choice.  

"We chose this time because it is graduation season at UJ, so it will be a good opportunity for students' families to see these works when they attend their children's graduation," Khasawneh added.  

Yazan Salman, a UJ student and one of the participants, said his work reflects on the relationship between women and land. 

The 28-year-old added that his close friends are excited about his creation but there are some people who do not like sculptures. 

"These events will help promote art and strengthen the bond between people and art." 

Khasawneh noted that the project gives Jordanians the inspiration to create a work of art out of nothing.

"These artworks are now worth thousands of dinars and they were created using the wood of damaged trees."

Khasawneh voiced hope that work on the project will continue even after the second phase — especially with the support of the private sector — because more than 1,000 tonnes of trees were damaged in the blizzard. 

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Source: Jordan Times, The

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