Mossul City 

The city was recently conquered - and then conquered again a few years later.The result is impressive. In the picturesque picture "Mosul" by Wathiq Al-Ameri you can see a bizarre scenery of completely different, against the panorama of the shattered city full of extensive smoke trails.thrown together figures. These are unrelated to the rest of a crumbling architectural fragment, perhaps a balustrade - with the best view of the smoking chant of a metropolis that once called itself a city.

 

Who are they? one wonders immediately.On the far left is a black-clad couple, an IS warrior next to a woman who is taking a selfie of both in front of the panorama described. A US soldier stomps forward with virtual reality glasses from behind.He bumps his foot against a burst black garbage bag, the contents of which are fluttering entropically over the floor full of banknotes. He carries a lamb on his shoulders - probably one of the few symbolic correspondences between Orient and Occident - the sacrificial animal. Right next to it you can see a familiarity of mother and little son, his Superman shirt, facing us. Further to the right, a man in a suit, perhaps a politician, hides his head somewhere in the ground, but actually under a bird's nest. There are two mating storks on this - this bird now has a completely different symbolism, depending on whether it is currently on a church roof in Central Europe or just after the bird migration somewhere in Iraq. Next to it sits a well-trained, albeit delicate, young man with stars and stripes loosely placed over his shoulder and a white mask in front of his face. Another man with a donkey mask appears slowly behind him. He wears one with a turban and beard, it is probably the burden of the religious leader riding on him. But figures also appear under the balustrade, all masked as princess, Mickey Mouse or Star Wars character.

Oil on canvas2021 / 220cm x 400 cm

The city and person panorama spreads completely heterogeneously in front of us, a collection of individuals randomly washed up on this balustrade by acts of war.They are unrelated to each other. All of them actually appear separate from each other. But they are conditional in their social and military functions. They are in their dice next to each other on the shattered balustrade - there, in Mosul. But they look out of the picture, where we are right now.Your eyes fly to us like the migratory birds. Do you see how we look at them? However, we cannot recognize their faces, because between their seeing us and our seeing them there are their worn masks. For the most part, they borrowed their motifs from the Occident. It is reasonable to assume that they will no longer return them. "You never see me where I see you" is a psychological process recognized by the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. In Al-Ameri's picture, this realization mutates to self-protection in the war zone - with a syncretic side effect.

Text: Martin G. Schmid