Works of art to be left to rising river in Hasankeyf

Works of art to be left to rising river in Hasankeyf

BATMAN - Anatolia News Agency
Works of art to be left to rising river in Hasankeyf

The artists attending the International Stone Sculpture Symposium will create works using 200 tons of marble blocks and then leave them to the Tigris River. AA photo

Consigning their works to an underwater fate from the beginning, 12 sculptors from nine countries are creating stone sculptures that will be left for submersion in the southeastern province of Batman’s Hasankeyf district after the area is flooded due to the contentious Ilısu Dam project.

Organized by the “Sculptors Without Borders Platform,” the event gathering together the sculptors, the International Stone Sculpture Symposium will continue throughout the month. Some 200 tons of marble blocks, which will be used in the production of the sculptures, were brought to Hasankeyf a few days ago.

The platform’s organizer, painter and sculptor Sait Zaimkeleş, said they had chosen the 10,000 year old Hasankeyf because it was historically significant and was soon to be underwater because of the Ilısu Dam project. He said 12 artists would professionally create 12 unique sculptures during the event, and leave these artworks to be submerged in the Dicle River. “Our purpose is to show our reaction to the fact that Hasankeyf will be submerged under water. If the historic values and the historic tissue of the district remain under water, our sculptures will have the same fate,” Zaimkeleş said.

Large cranes will be used to carry the sculptures to Hasankeyf, with an area of 4,000 square meters taken under the control of art for the duration of the month. Zaimkeleş said. He said the area where the marble blocks were placed would also become an education area.

Reviving the art of sculpture

“Another goal of this symposium, attended by the academics of various universities from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Argentina, Egypt, Georgia, France, and Turkey, is to revive this art, which first appeared in Mesopotamia. The art of sculpture is almost dying. We demand during these symposiums to develop and highlight its masters,” Zaimkeleş said.

One of the sculptors in the symposium, Iraqi artist Adalet Garmiany, said Hasankeyf had universal value, and that the symposium represented a very big step toward promoting the town to the world and preserving it.