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In pictures: Lamassu sculpture by Iraqi-American artist unveiled in London

By Rudaw 30/3/2018
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A replica of an ancient Assyrian lamassu – a  winged bull with a serene human face – that was destroyed by ISIS in  Nineveh in 2015 has been unveiled in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square.

Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz built the sculpture out of  10,500 empty date syrup cans. It now occupies the Fourth Plinth of the  famous square, which regularly plays host to striking public exhibits  outside the National Gallery.

The 14-foot long sculpture, named ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not  Exist’, was unveiled to the public on Wednesday as part of a wider  exhibition. It faces southeast in the direction of its Iraqi spiritual  home.

“The title of the exhibition takes its name from the direct  translation of Aj-ibur-shapu, the ancient Babylonian processional way  that ran through the Ishtar Gate,” the artist’s website explains.

“The invisible enemy should not exist unfolds as an intricate  narrative about the artifacts stolen from the National Museum of Iraq,  Baghdad, in the aftermath of the US invasion of April 2003; the  current status of their whereabouts; and the series of events  surrounding the invasion, the plundering and related protagonists.”

The first-millennium-BC lamassu that Rakowitz based his design on  stood at the entrance to Nergal Gate before ISIS militants filmed  themselves drilling its face off. It was one of many precious ancient  artifacts destroyed by the jihadist group over the course of the  three-year war.

“Alluding to the implied invisibility of the museum artifacts … the  reconstructions are made from the packaging of Middle Eastern  foodstuffs and local Arabic newspapers, moments of cultural visibility  found in cities across the United States,” the artist’s site adds.

Earlier works by Rakowitz include a sculpture made out of Saddam  Hussein’s dinner plates.


Photos: AFP/Tolga Akmen

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