Some of us only know of the Iraqi city of Mosul as a place where many have suffered. But there is much more to the city than its recent history. Once a thriving trade centre, Mosul endured years of conflict but also renewal. Mosul, which is nestled in the “cradle of civilization,” has a heritage that dates back to the 25th century BCE, and includes the breathtaking Great Mosque of Al-Nuri.
To shed light on its art and history while supporting contemporary Mosulian artists, we’re launching The Art & Soul of Mosul on Google Arts & Culture, in partnership with Iraqi community radio station Al-Ghad Radio.
The collection helps people immerse themselves in the world of Mosul’s artists through features like detailed in-painting tours and videos detailing the artist’s experience living through occupation. At the heart of the project is the incredible artwork depicting the stories of the city and the people, including the lives of women and children during and after the war. Some of the artwork was displayed during the 2019 exhibition “Return to Mosul,” hosted at the Mosul Cultural Museum. With this new digital exhibition, the pieces now have a permanent online home.
Marwan Tariq, an artist who participated in the 2019 exhibition, said, "The message of the workshop to the world is that the city of Mosul, the city of art, is still alive despite the destruction and grinding war that destroyed people and the infrastructure…it is full of life and peace." Our new online exhibition also includes personal stories of perseverance from Marwan and many other artists and residents of Mosul, including how one community worked together to rebuild their neighborhood.
As part of our efforts to support digital documentation and preservation of local heritage sites across the Middle East, you can also discover Mosul’s Old City using Street View and view 3D models of heritage sites at risk, such as Mosul’s first mosque and one of its oldest churches.
The Art & Soul of Mosul is Google Arts & Culture’s latest project showcasing contemporary culture and the ancient heritage of the Middle East. To discover more of the region’s art, culture as well as more stories from around the world visit us online or through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app on iOS and Android.