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Finding Meaning In Michael Rakowitz’s Work

by Anne Bothwell 9 Mar 2020 5:20 PM

The latest in our video series on the Nasher Prize winner.



How do people in areas of conflict survive without denying the past?

That’s a question that consumes Michael Rakowitz. The Iraqi-American sculptor is set to receive the Nasher Prize next month.

In this video, Nasher Prize jurors talk about the artist’s work.

Carolyn Christov Bakargiev describes how Rakowitz used a database of objects that were destroyed or missing during the Iraq war. The artist commissioned young people to recreate the objects in paper mache, then covered them in bright wrappers from a variety of Iraqi foods.

“These very very colorful, kind of like toy objects, were recreations of these looted objects,” said Bakargiev.

Rakowitz’s work contains a powerful message, says Pablo Leon de la Barra, another juror: “Objects and sculptures, they’re not innocent. Michael makes us aware that there’s a whole body of knowledge contained in them.”

Enjoy this video, produced by Quin Mathews for Nasher Sculpture Center and Art&Seek. And check out our guide to learn more about Rakowitz, and all the Nasher Prize winners.