London – The Iraqi wars and the damage left behind will be highlighted at the Trafalgar square’s Fourth Plinth in London in 2018. The work by US artist Michael Rakowitz has been announced the winner, featuring an ancient Assyrian winged bull sculpture destroyed by ISIS in 2015.
Rakowitz named his project “The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist”, which will be revealed to the public in 2018.
Rakowitz, who was born in Chicago from an Iraqi mother, said that one of his uncles left Iraq in 1940 to settle in London. Rakowitz stated that he started working in 2007 on a project in which he used recycled Middle Eastern food cans to recreate some damaged artifacts of Iraq’s Museum in Baghdad.
The original winged bull, a protective deity known as the Lamassu, stood from about 700 BC at a gate of the ancient city of Nineveh on the outskirts of the modern-day Iraqi city of Mosul, a former ISIS stronghold.
“It’s the first time this project has been situated in a public space, and it’s happening when we are witnessing a massive migration of people fleeing Iraq and Syria,” said Rakowitz in a statement.
“It’s devastating what’s happened,” he told the Guardian. “Creating these apparitions of the originals has been a very meaningful work but it’s also become very clear to me how impossible it is to reconstruct history. Regardless of what our technologies are, the DNA of the societies can’t be put back together.”
The artist said he visited the Edgware Road and went by these stores called Bahgdad and Babylon Grocery and he recognized just how much of Iraq is here as well.
It’s one of the pleasures of being able to do a project in a place like this where there are different generations of Iraqis who left at different times, said Rakowitz.
Ekow Eshun, chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group congratulated Michael Rakowitz and Heather Phillipson on winning the commission, and said that they were selected among five projects participating in the contest.
The new commissions will proudly continue the legacy of the Fourth Plinth in putting world-class contemporary sculpture at the heart of London, he added.