Nimrud, 2017 (details) handmade egg tempera, 275 x 1100 cm
Permanent Collection of the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Nimrud is a large-scale hand painted rendering of the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud in Iraq, which was severely damaged and looted by extremists in 2015. The work is a composite of images, archeological renderings and video stills of the site itself in various conditions - from excavation to destruction- as well the portions of the site located in museums around the world, including the National Museum of Iraq, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum. Here, a group of Yazidi families walk to safety, displaced by the recent violence, accompanied by violinist Ameen Mukdad from Mosul. Several destroyed shrines and a rescue helicopter crash can be seen in the background.
This work was created for the Happiness and Tolerance Initiative at Zayed University for the United Arab Emirates sponsored by the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises and the office of Happiness and Tolerance.
This painting resonates with the United Arab Emirates' commitment to cultivate in their young people and society at large respect for diversity, ideological openness, and acceptance of others’ viewpoints- whether of civilizations past, present, or those to come. Nimrud aspires to create interest and dialog about the value of diversity, inclusion and stewardship of art and cultural heritage, including archeological objects and sites in the region.
Nimrud merges source materials seamlessly, juxtaposing divergent scenes such as viewers at the Iraq National Museum in 2003, video stills of destruction and looting at the site in 2015, 19th century paintings of the colonial excavation, digital renderings that imagine the original city in the 9th century BC, and images from media outlets and candid photography. Combining the visual lexicons of the media, museum studies, and private documentation-- each with their own multiple, calculated and unknowable internal dialectics and interests.
Thank you to the College of Arts and Creative Enterprises at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi and the office of Happiness and Tolerance for the United Arab Emirates for your invitation and support in producing this project on campus. Special thanks to Professor Karen Oremus for bringing my work to the attention of the College and facilitating every aspect of my visit so thoughtfully. Thank you to Ms. Shamsa Al Taie for your enthusiasm and support in realizing this project in association with Happiness and Tolerance Initiative.
Thank you Dean Ann-Maree Reaney and Assistant Dean David Howarth for your welcome and support throughout the project and thank you Vice President Reyadh Almehaideb and Provost Marilyn Roberts for your esteemed presence at the inauguration of the painting. Thank you Ayesh Ghanim and Montu Sarakr, the facilities department and Serco for your technical support at all hours of the day and night. Thank you to all of the exceptional students who participated in the egg tempera workshop and assisted in painting. A special thank you to Rana Zaid who dedicated many hours of her time and talent to this project.
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