AFP
Last updated: October 19, 2011

Prominent Iraqi sculptor dies of kidney failure

Mohammed Ghani Hikmat, a prominent Iraqi sculptor whose art abounds in public squares across Baghdad, has died of kidney failure, a source close to his family said.

The family friend said that Hikmat, 82, died on Monday.

Hikmat was lauded for bringing bronze sculpting to Iraq, and just this year was asked by the capital's authorities to design a new set of four works ahead of a planned Arab League summit that was due to be held earlier this year before being postponed. He will be buried on Thursday.

"Hikmat's departure is a big loss for Iraqi art in general, and sculpting in particular," said Taha Haibat, a fellow sculptor. "He left a large artistic legacy, and he will always be a mentor for Iraqi artists."

"The fine art movement lost one of its main icons and founders."

Hikmat was born in Baghdad in 1928, and after initially completing his studies at the Iraqi capital's Fine Arts Institute in 1953 he moved to Rome for further study.

He spent the last several years in Jordan, and was taken to Amman's al-Khalidi hospital with kidney problems more than a week ago before dying on Monday evening, according to a source close to the artist's family.

Earlier this year, Baghdad authorities commissioned Hikmat to sculpt four other statues for public squares in the capital. They have been completed, but not yet installed.

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