Messages in Bottles

5 minutes 25 seconds
a video sculpture
music by Rahim Alhaj
glass, steel, walnut and video
10.5″H x 13.5″W x 5″D

This video also addresses vanishing species and cultures. Although only one species of praying mantis is endangered, many insects on the planet are in jeopardy. The etymology of the word mantis is New Latin, from Greek, meaning seer, diviner, or prophet.

The music has been composed and performed by Rahim Alhaj, an Iraqi refugee (now a US citizen) who is a musician and a master Oud player. Alhaj was nominated for a Grammy in 2007. His compositions resonate with the raw poetry and pain of the destruction and loss of his homeland – the cradle of civilization – as well as members of his family. This sensibility is combined with his appreciation of finding safety in this country. Somehow his music and the prophetic symbol of the praying mantis seem an appropriate pairing.

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