Iraqi artist showcases his effort to restore Iraqi culture
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This edition of Yalla! Fight Back Arab radio May 11, 2018 will focus on the life work of Northwestern University professor and artist Michael Rakowitz to preserve the Iraqi culture that was destroyed by terrorists of the Daesh (Islamic State in the Levant, ISIL, ISIS) which occupied a large segment of Iraqi beginning in June 2014. During its three year terror rampage, Daesh destroyed Arab cultural artifacts and the cultural artifacts of other national groups. Among the items destroyed were historical artifacts from Iraqi history dating back thousands of years including many iconic items from the Iraqi museum.
Rakowitz is an unusual and interesting person. His father is Jewish and his mother is Iraqi and he lives Iraqi culture daily in his personal and professional life. Over the years, Rakowitz has been recreating some of the most iconic of Iraqi cultural images including the Lamassu, an Sumerian, Assyrian, Chaldean and Iraqi protective deity, often depicted as having a human’s head, the body of a bull or a lion, and bird’s wings. In some writings, it is portrayed to represent a female deity.
Recently, using an artistic style composed of empty food cans that were used for Iraqi food — many distributed by the Palestinian American food company Ziyad Brothers Importing based in a Chicago suburb — Rakowitz recreated a life sized replica of the Lamassu that is today displayed in Trafalgar Square in London, an image praised by the Muslim Mayor of the city Sadiq Khan. The iconic artwork was unveiled on March 28, 2018 and will be on display through 2020 in London before moving to other locations
Rakowitz will discuss his artistic drive to preserve and help restore the images of these ancient Iraqi cultural images and his life as an Iraqi Jew who now lives in America enjoying and promoting Iraqi and Arab Wold culture.
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