The Rise of Mosul

The rehabilitation of a strong-willed city

Al-Ghad Radio

Part of the Return to Mosul Exhibition

The Glory of Mosul (2019) by Marwan TariqAl-Ghad Radio

Layers of time

In June of 2014, ISIS took control of Mosul in northern Iraq, plunging the city and its residents into three years of anguish and darkness.   

Here, the artist has captured the many literal and metaphorical layers of Mosul. The historic city through the ages is portrayed: from the dark times it has suffered, emerging is the brighter future of the Mosul of tomorrow.

Murder: Crows and Turtle Doves (2019) by Talal GhanimAl-Ghad Radio



ISIS members were scavengers, dressed in black, like a murder of crows. They traveled around Mosul in groups exacting brutal punishments and violence on citizens.

The dark crows that inhabited Mosul for years are directly contrasted with the universal sign of peace – the dove. The juxtaposition of the dark and the light symbolises hope: after the crows left Mosul, the chance for peace returned.     

Winged on a Red Ground (2019) by Falah ShakarjiAl-Ghad Radio

Through colour and art, so fervently suppressed by ISIS, a space of hope is explored. The metaphor of the winged horse or Al-Burāq, similar to the Assyrian Lamassu, comes from pre-Islamic tradition and has developed over time into the story of Muḥammad’s night journey (Isrāʾ) from Mecca to Jerusalem and back.        

This story became connected with Muḥammad’s ascension to heaven (Miʿrāj), away from the darkness of the path and into the vibrant and colourful hope of the future.   

Abstract (2019) by Maha MoheisanAl-Ghad Radio

Memories are balanced by the stark and joyful innocence of the light and green hues of hope, redemption, and future possibilities. 

Colourful horizons presage a better time with freedom, identity, and a return to innocence. 

Collapse (2019) by Bushra GhadariAl-Ghad Radio

The artist visualizes Mosul’s horizon and how it was profoundly altered by ISIS and their occupation of the city. 

The bloodshed, trauma, and destruction left an indelible mark on Mosul and its people. Yet, with the end of the occupation, came hope for pastures new.     

Triptych: Heaven and Earth (2019) by Manhal Al-DabbaghAl-Ghad Radio

Adam and Eve - A new beginning

Despite the pain, wounds, and struggle, the skies of Mosul will always clear. The city is hopeful thanks to the freedom and resilience of the human spirit, as is the spirit of Mosul as it is liberated from tyranny.   

The artist paints the figures of heaven and air, with the pair in the centre denoting Adam and Eve, signaling rebirth and a new start.

Arabic Letter (2019) by Ali Abduljabbar Mustafa Al-NajjarAl-Ghad Radio

Honouring the past; looking to the future

The greatest beauty in life lies in the human spirit, which transcends and envelops the destruction of Mosul through creativity and hope.  

Voices that have been lost and cannot be heard, colours that cannot be seen, and words that cannot be read are not forgotten in the revival of the city. The strength of the human spirit and resilience is the only tool for salvation within Mosul.   

The artist obscured the words to the reader as they denote voices that have been lost and cannot be heard, colours that cannot be seen and words that cannot be read.

Credits: Story

This work is brought to you by Al-Ghad Radio, in partnership with Nineveh Fine Artists Association.   

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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