Iraqi artist recreates ancient artefacts destroyed by Islamic State
Published: 2017-01-17 12:53:16.0 BdST Updated: 2017-01-17 12:53:16.0 BdST
As Iraqi forces fight to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State, an artist in nearby Erbil is chiselling at clay in a tiny, unheated studio to recreate historic Assyrian monuments destroyed by the group.
Ninos Thabet, an 18-year-old Christian who studied art at Mosul University, is creating miniature replicas of statues the jihadists destroyed when they overran the 3,000-year-old Assyrian city of Nimrud, south of Mosul, 2-1/2 years ago.
Once the capital of an empire stretching across the ancient Middle East, Nimrud is one of several historic sites that Islamic State looted and ransacked when they seized large swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014.
The statues included winged bulls with human faces, known as lamassu, and a bronze head of King Sargon of Akkad.
"Seeing the antiquities of your country, a civilization that is thousands of years old, destroyed within minutes is very painful," he told Reuters during a visit to his studio. "It was difficult seeing such a setback to our culture and history."
Islamic State, whose ultra-hardline doctrine deems pre-Islamic religious heritage idolatrous, released video footage last year showing its fighters bulldozing, drilling and blowing up murals and statues at Nimrud.
"I wanted to send a message to the world saying, 'We ... want to rebuild our civilization and to continue to grow artistically'", said Thabet.
Iraqi forces pushing through eastern Mosul took control over the weekend of Mosul University, once a premier institution in the Middle East that became a strategic site for the militants, as part of a three-month, US-led offensive to recapture the entire city, Islamic State's last major stronghold in the country. Western Mosul remains under Islamic State control.
Thabet fled with his family from the Christian town of Qaraqosh, east of Mosul, to the Kurdish capital Erbil when Islamic State took over. He says art brought him comfort while he was away from his home and friends.
Since leaving his home, he has created more than 50 statues and figures. Some of them have been displayed in exhibits and museums, and others he sold to collectors.
Iraqi troops pushed Islamic State from Nimrud in November, giving officials a clearer idea of the scale of the damage.
During a visit days later, Reuters found shattered remains of intricate carvings lying broken in the dust. A ziggurat, or terraced pyramid, had been reduce to a pile of dirt, apparently flattened by bulldozers.
Nimrud was excavated in the 19th century by British archaeologist Austen Layard. Fellow archaeologist Max Mallowan and his wife, crime writer Agatha Christie, worked at Nimrud in the 1950s. Christie's experiences in Iraq formed the background to several of her novels.
Any unauthorised use or reproduction of bdnews24.com content for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited and constitutes copyright infringement liable to legal action.
- Stolen Van Gogh paintings back in Amsterdam after 14 years
- Nobel laureate poet Derek Walcott dies in St Lucia
- Karl Marx's German birthplace to accept controversial Chinese statue
- Exhibition charting American pop art opens at London's British Museum
- Kabori steals the show on the last day at Ekushey Book Fair
- Matinee idol Kabori to sign her memoirs on last day of Ekushey Book Fair
- Bangladesh’s Shahabuddin Ahmed becomes first foreign ‘Artist-In-Residence’ in India's Rashtrapati Bhavan
- Actress Kabori's memoirs launched at Ekushey Book Fair
- Kabori’s memoirs at Ekushey Book Fair
- Top British diplomat in Dhaka hosts scrap metal sculptures show
- Former Indian army veterans all praise for Bangladesh para-commandos
- Rain sinks Sri Lanka hopes after Mendis century, Taskin hat-trick in Dambulla
- Autopsy done on bodies of two militants killed in Sylhet
- Visitors barred at Dhaka airport terminals to beef up security ahead of IPU Assembly
- Police get control of Sylhet’s 'Atia Mahal' as army ends 'Operation Twilight'
- Bombs turned Atia Mahal into a death trap, says army after Operation Twilight
- Four suspects dead inside Sylhet's terror den, army to continue operation
- Bangladesh information minister backs controversial Section 57 of ICT Act
- MP Salim Osman to face trial for publicly humiliating school teacher
- Indian visa rules for Bangladeshis relaxed further