It was a sobering day when footage was released of Daesh entering the city of Nimrud and destroying centuries-old artifacts. Reportedly, the group of Islamic extremists were on a mission to destroy any symbols they consider to be idolatrous and, in result, begin using sledgehammers and electric drills on works of art.
Rather than become overwhelmed by the sad news, 17-year-old Nenous Thabit decided instead to fight back by recreating some of the sculptures that were destroyed. The Assyrian Christian considers many artifacts in the city – which is 3,000 years old and was once the capital of an Assyrian empire – to be the work of his ancestors.
To honor them and to become empowered himself, he began creating immaculate sculptures that resemble some of the most precious Assyrian artifacts in Nimrud and in other ancient areas near and in Mosul. He told CNN:
“They waged a war on art and culture, so I decided to fight them with art.”
In the photo below, Thabit can be seen in the modest home where he lives with his family. He is meticulously carving the beard of Lamassu, an Assyrian deity. It took about fifteen days to complete the piece. He says:
“Lamassu is my favorite statue. It is the strongest creature in the Assyrian heritage. It has the head of a human, the body of a lion, the legs of an ox and the wings of a vulture.”