Portrait of a Maslawi Woman

Marwan Fathi2019

Al-Ghad Radio

Al-Ghad Radio
Mosul , Iraq

Daesh forced Maslawi women to wear the Niqab (face-veil), denying them agency in their choice of personal expression. The crow perched on the woman’s shoulder is symbolic of the subjugation and control by Daesh of the Maslawi population. The multicoloured palette is joyful and defiant. Daesh banned colourful clothing, prescribing black as the only suitable sartorial colour within the city. The dress is seemingly made of fish scales, this is perhaps a reference to the story of Jonah and the Whale, from Mosul’s Temple of Jonah. The whale has become a symbol of resistance and salvation within Mosul after the temple was destroyed by Daesh in an act of archaeological terrorism in 2014. The woman adopts a provocative stance, with her strong, direct gaze. Her shock of hair denotes diversity and multitude. There are tribes with flame-red hair across Northern Iraq denoting the great variety and diversity of ethnicities within Mosul before Daesh occupied the city.


  • Title: Portrait of a Maslawi Woman
  • Creator: Marwan Fathi
  • Date Created: 2019
  • Location Created: Mosul, Iraq
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas
  • Art Form: Painting
  • Depicted Location: Mosul
  • Depicted Topic: Mosul

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