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The New Arab

Saddam Hussein bust to be launched into space

Saddam Hussein was captured, tried and executed after the US invasion [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 September, 2016

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An Iraqi American artist is preparing to launch a replica gold statue of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein into space. Why? Because art.
A golden statue of Iraq’s former Saddam Hussein will be sent into ‘eternal orbit’ in space, an Iraqi American artist said.

The small sculpture is a replica of the notorious nine metre high statues that once stood upon the former leader’s palace and is currently being displayed at an arts exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Wafaa Bilal said.

"The satellite box has a tiny camera in front of the statue, so you can watch it as it goes into space," Bana Kattan, the exhibition co-curator and assistant curator at NYUAD Art Gallery told the Khaleej Times.

The idea was inspired by an old rumour which spread around Iraq during the time of Saddam Hussein that claimed replicas of the palace statues would be sent into orbit by the Iraqi Space Programme, with hopes it would orbit Earth.

"For the Ba'athists, Saddam was celebrated as a hero whose actions in favor of pan-Arabism marked him as the second coming of the mythical Saladin, who fought the Crusaders in Palestine and delivered them to justice," artist Wafaa Bilal wrote of his website.

"The rise of Saddam’s personality cult followed with colossal stone effigies erected throughout Iraq. One of these featured Saddam’s stoic gaze crowned with the holy shrine of the Dome of the Rock–conflating his rule with divine mandate and cloaking him under the mantle of the Prophet."

Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for more than three decades before being captured, tried and executed.

It is unclear how Iraqis will feel about the former leader watching their every move again, this time from outer space.

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