Monuments, Statues in Baghdad to honour Iraqi figures

A worker puts the last touches on a statue by renowned Iraqi sculptor, Mohammed Ghani Hikmat, who is among those honoured. [Mahmoud al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

A worker puts the last touches on a statue by renowned Iraqi sculptor, Mohammed Ghani Hikmat, who is among those honoured. [Mahmoud al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

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Iraq plans to build 19 statues and monuments throughout Baghdad, portraying figures and events drawn from Iraq's history and culture as part of the Ministry of Culture's celebrations marking Baghdad as the Arab Capital of Culture for 2013, officials at the ministry said on Wednesday (September 12th).

Ministry Spokesperson Abdul Qader Saadi al-Jumaili told Mawtani that the sculptures will be of different sizes and will be erected at Baghdad squares and intersections before mid-March 2013.

He said the project includes two monuments, one named "The Monument of Iraq" and the other "The Monument of Gilgamesh". It also includes 17 statues that will represent well-known political, cultural, arts, sports, and religious figures.

Sculptor Abbas Ghareeb created the Monument of Iraq, while artist Hadi Hamza designed the Monument of Gilgamesh.

The two men were selected as part of a nation-wide competition held by the ministry earlier this year, according to al-Jumaili.

Al-Jumaili said the Iraq Monument will be the "most important of all the sculptures and will be erected at Firdos Square, which is considered one of the important landmarks of the city because it was the site of a statue of former president Saddam Hussein and signalled the fall of his regime when it was brought down in 2003".

The new monument is 21-metres-high and has a circular shape and four gates of the Abbasid architectural style. Its top ends are interwoven, and the monument is adorned with bronze carved scenery representing all the civilisations that have passed through the land of Mesopotamia.

Al-Jumaili said the ministry also intends to increase the number of statues of pioneering political figures who have played a dominant role in Iraqi society beyond the 17 statues already planned.

Among the figures represented in the 17 statues are sculptors Mohammad Ghani Hikmat, Fayek Hassan, and Jawad Saleem, sociologist Ali al-Wardi, author Kamil Shiyaa, poets Nazik al-Malaika and Mustafa Jamaludeen and scholar Taha Baqir;

The sculptures also include the first woman to become a cabinet minister in Iraq, Naziha al-Dulaimi, scholar and jurisprudent Ahmed al-Waeli and Father Anastas al-Karmali.

'Revival of the art of sculpture'

Iraqi sculptors welcomed plans to erect monuments and statues in Baghdad, describing it as a good beginning for the revival of Iraqi art of sculpture.

Sculptor Yahya Mushtaq said, "Up until recently, we felt that the art of sculpture in Iraq had died, because of the lack of government policy to nurture this art." "Now we believe that life has returned, and in a strong way, to the body of Iraqi sculpture," he added.

Sculptor Omar Abdul Salam, said, "Sculptors were very stressed because they could not use their talents, but the time has come [for creativity] to find manifestation in their works."

"I believe the works that will be completed will reflect a lot of skill, technique, and precision," he added.

Sculptor Riyadh Hamza, described the project as the "Spring of Iraqi Sculpture", inspired by the revolutions of the Arab Spring.

"We have a lot of art in store for which we must find a place in real life," Hamza told Mawtani.

"There will be tough competition between the artists [who hope] to immortalise their names by having their works prevail," he added.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    علي حميدان

    2012-10-3

    Art is as important as any other aspect of life. Art reflects what is going on within any country throughout the various aspects of the political, economic, religious as well as random. Therefore, care must be given to art in order to increase interest in it, especially in Iraq, because we do not deny what is going on in Iraq from the drain of its people and resources. Also, it is the main, basic and only factor in blurring art in Iraq because art is the mirror that reflects what is going on inside the country, which also spreads the numerous cultures of the Iraqi society. It also spreads the customs and traditions that belong to Iraqi society. Everyone criticizes the Iraqi Government and the relevant authorities’ indifference to develop the art movement in Iraq. First of them is the Iraqi artists who are not so lucky in the advancement of their art heritage because the political conditions that prevailed in Iraq in the recent years are the cause for eliminating art in Iraq because professionalism and excellence do not come from nothing. Therefore, we ask the Ministry of Culture in Iraq to give more attention to the development of the Iraqi art and deal with it professionally, and take it out of the local framework to the World Space to compete all the arts of the world and the Middle East. Care must be given to its re-structuring to compete with other arts as well as impress the whole world with the progress of the Iraqi art, and satisfy anyone who cares for the movements of art. As such, awareness must be increased because art is the upscale language of expression through which we can achieve what we cannot achieve in contemporary reality.

  • طه احمد

    2012-9-24

    The artistic activities in Iraq have deteriorated significantly in recent years. The artists failed to produce meaningful works, which could deal with social issues. The artistic works are becoming more and more trivial. This is the responsibility of the media.

  • حزب العدالة والتنمية في العراق

    2012-9-18

    Long live Iraq.

  • ابو محمد

    2012-9-16

    On the one hand, there are sculptures, monuments, personalities, awards… on the other hand, there is a hungry and deprived nation, denied of basic life necessities, including electricity, which Iraqis are now daydreaming about, let alone clean water and the like… This nation is having an unparalleled level of unemployment… We complain to god and count on Him

  • هههههههههههه

    2012-9-16

    Iraqis are very content to the extent that they are now making idols for themselves…Ask yourself, where are the previous Arab idols now? Where are Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, Hubal, Saddam, Rasheed and the others? This must be a new verbal tactic either from the cleric or from Al Maliki

  • سامى محمود السيد على مصرى عراقى

    2012-9-14

    I loved this article but I would I could know the political personality that would have the honor of this great representation.