Lamassu brings art and politics together on 4th plinth

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Lamassu, the winged bull that from 700BC stood guard at the entrance to the ancient city of Nineveh, now Mosul, and was destroyed by ISIS in 2015, is back.

It was un eiled on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square  by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan and Michael Rakowitz’s sculpture The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist.

The piece is part of a project started before the original bull was destroyed in which, since 2006, Rakowitz has been recreating 7,000 objects looted from Iraq Museum since 2003 or destroyed on archaeological sites swine the war started 

The Lamassu itself is made is made of 10,500 empty Iraq date syrup cans.

Michael Rakowitz, interviewed after the unveiling of his statue

“The work is unveiled at a time when we are witnessing a massive migration of people fleeing Iraq and Syria" Rakowitz said today. “I see this work as a ghost of the original, and as a placeholder for those human lives that cannot be reconstructed, that are still searching for sanctuary.”

The piece is the 12th to appear on the empty plinth since the scheme began un 1998, and it will remain until March 2020.

“There’s a real buzz whenever we unveil a new work on the Fourth Plinth” said Justine Simons, deputy mayor for culture. “Londoners and visitors to the capital are always excited to see what will be on the plinth next,

“Michael’s work is both beautiful and thought-provoking. It will be seen in the heart of the capital and is testament to the enduring appeal,of the world’s most high-profile public art space.”

 

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