Jango Mousa was born in the town of Amude in north-east Syria (Rojava) and graduated from Damascus University Faculty of Art in 1985. He then started at Repin Academy of Art in St. Petersburg, and after nine years of painting and drama education there he returned to Syria in 1996 as a full-time academic at Damascus University.
In 2013, Mousa’s life changed radically when he was forced to migrate from Rojava, and since then he has been living in Switzerland.
Mousa told Yeni Özgür Politika that he stayed in Rojava for three years of the devastating civil war, but eventually found all his possibitilies exhausted.
“Life was full of risks and unknowns, especially for intellectuals and artists. Naturally being cut off from Rojava felt bad. Naturally I would prefer to live in my own country, but as a free, democratic country,” he said.
Mousa reflects on the difficulties he has experienced as a refugee, especially in the sphere of art, which he found to be “not open to refugees”. “I believe art is the best way that one can express oneself. What I realised is that importance was not placed on these matters in Switzerland and that this sphere was not open to refugees. Even Swiss artists have to do other work to make a living. There is no academy of art here in Switzerland, and it has become one of my main goals to make sure that one is opened.”
The 54-year-old artist has held exhibitions in Damascus, Beirut, St. Petersburg, Kuwait, Dubai, Stockholm, Schaffhause and Thurgau. His latest exhibition in Löwen Sommesi was centered around war and migration.
“The theme of the exhibition was war and it attracted a lot of interest… I am focusing on people cut off from their countries. Lately I have been painting fishes, symbolising this break. Fish that have left the water, fish out of water…”