What do you do when your civil, political, cultural and educational institutions are destroyed, your homeland comes under siege, your countrymen are brutally murdered, centuries-old cultural artifacts are demolished and the majority of citizens are forced to abandon their birthplace and ancestral homeland?

If you are an Assyrian artist, first you PRAY.
And then, you create ART.

Incorporating a geographic region in north Mesopotamia now spanning parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, the Assyrian people have experienced the types of geopolitical and social extremes that often result in the loss of cultural identity. Indeed, very dark periods of war, persecution, genocide and religious turmoil have left the original boundaries of the Assyrian nation in tatters. The outlets for Assyrian art and other cultural artifacts is somewhat limited (and mostly focused on ancient artifacts). Yet as you might expect from a culture with such a rich and often difficult history, Assyrian contribution to the arts has been highly significant and influential. Preserving and showcasing that artistry is our primary goal.

Our Definition of Art is Broad and Inclusive:

Performing Arts
Visual Arts
Decorative Arts
Media Arts
Language Arts
Culinary Arts

Scholars suggest that art and architecture uniquely identified as Assyrian (and a break from the Babylonian and Sumerian style typical of the region), began to emerge around 1500 B.C. during the first Golden Age of Assyria (2400 B.C. to 612 B.C.). These early works often contain visual references to hunting, war and human suffering, reflecting the times and military dominance of the Assyrian nation. Many of these ancient artifacts were re-discovered by archaeologists in modern times, with well-documented collections of stone carvings, pottery, sculpture and other art forms housed today in museums throughout the world.

Showcased monumentally on palace walls and other edifices, these early Assyrian artworks relied heavily on images of animals as protective guardians – most famously winged lions and other beasts, often sporting human heads.

After 612 B.C., Assyria entered the first of several dark periods, emerging occasionally, but never regaining political or social dominance, then suffering from mass genocide in the early part of the Twentieth Century.

Today Assyrians no longer control their ancestral lands, have dissipated to various regions around the globe and face a future of struggle as they try to keep Assyrian culture and traditions alive.

It is precisely this struggle that results in the rich and important mix of styles that continues to define Assyrian art today. With limited geographic boundaries, religious practices or political allegiances to carry the culture forward, art has emerged as a dominate focal point for all those who identify as modern Assyrians. Many others simply wish to understand and appreciate the influence and contributions rightfully attributed to Assyria (which may currently be seen by many as belonging to other nation/states).

Today we use a broad definition to classify Assyrian Arts, looking to highlight and showcase the work of artists and performers directly descended from the traditions of ancient Assyria, and those who have been influenced and motivated by this fascinating region of the world.