Teenager 'fights Isis with art' by sculpting replicas of artefacts destroyed by militants

'Continuing to sculpt is a message that we will not be intimidated by those devils'

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The Independent Online

An Assyrian Christian teenager is attempting to “fight Isis with art” by sculpting detailed replicas of the ancient statues destroyed by the extreme Islamist group.

Nenous Thabit, 17, decided to embark on the creative project after Isis militants destroyed priceless artefacts and sculptures in the ancient city of Nimrud in Iraq, a 3,300-year-old settlement which was once to capital of the Assyrian empire.

Mr Thabit said the destruction of the artefacts affected him greatly, as he considered the Nimrud statues to be the work of his ancestors, according to CNN.

His response was to create 18 new statues closely resembling the originals, including an intricate sculpture of the Assyrian god Lamassu.

He was trained by his father, a professional sculptor, and the two worked together in the family workshop.

“They [Isis] waged a war on art and culture,” Mr Thabit said of his project. “So I decided to fight them with art. Lamassu is my favourite statue, it is the strongest creature in the Assyrian heritage.

“In Iraq, there are people who are killed because they are sculptors, because they are artists. Continuing to sculpt is a message that we will not be intimidated by those devils.

“My dream is to become a prominent artist in Iraq to make my country proud and show the world that we in Iraq love life and cherish our heritage.”

Mr Thabit intends to attend art school in the Kurdish city of Dohuk next year, and continue his progress to becoming a sculptor.

Nimrud is one of the most precious ancient Mesopotamian ruins in existence, and the site was finally secured by the Iraqi army after weeks of fighting earlier this week.

Last year militants from Isis announced they had destroyed the site using sledge hammers and bulldozers because of its "un-Islamic" Assyrian nature.

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