Amanat Baghdad commissioned renowned Iraqi sculptor Mohammed Ghani Hikmat to create four sculptures for various prominent public areas around the capital.
Hakeem Abdul Zahra, director general of media relations in Amanat Baghdad, told Mawtani on October 18th that officials in Baghdad province were interested in installing art memorials as tourist attractions to capture the artistic distinction that Baghdad has been known for in the past.
"Art memorials in Baghdad clearly show that Iraqi sculpture is one of the most important arts, especially since there are statues in Baghdad squares that have impressed artists and Arab and foreign tourists in the past, including the works of leading artist Mohammed Ghani Hikmat," Abdul Zahra said.
The new works of art will embody important Iraqi symbols. The first sculpture will include a verse by Iraqi poet Mustafa Jamal Adin, while the second will include an Iraqi woman to symbolize sacrifice, beauty, and love, and to represent Baghdad.
The third work of art will depict a magic lamp, which is associated with the Baghdad tales in Arabian Nights, and the fourth sculpture will embody the Sumerian seal that is associated with Iraq's ancient civilization.
"These works of art will certainly add aesthetic and artistic touches to Baghdad, especially since all the works of artist Mohammed Ghani Hikmat carry a special nature and an artistic touch for which this leading artist has been known," Abdul Zahra said.
Mohammed Ghani Hikmat was born in Baghdad in 1929 and graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in 1953. He traveled to Italy in 1955 where he studied until 1961, graduating from Italian schools with certificates in sculpture, ceramics, and metal and bronze casting.
He was then appointed as the first sculpture teacher at the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 1962. He continued to work there until he retired in 1997.
Hikmat executed works of art in a number of European cities, including Paris, Rome, and Florence. He has several memorials in Baghdad, including al-Mutanabi, Scheherazade and Shahrayar, Morjan, Ishtar, al-Mansour, and Hamourabi. He also has 40 artistic memorials displayed in prominent places around the world.
"The works of art of Mohammed Ghani Hikmat show his Iraqiness and his love for and attachment to Iraqi myths and tales. I think that each one of the four works of sculpture will have a major impact on the course of art in Iraq," said Iraqi sculptor and student of Hikmat, Ali Abbad.
Female sculptor Suhad al-Refaei described Hikmat as "an extension of those sculptors who decorated the Babylonian, Sumerian, and Assyrian eras with statues and sculptures, which world sculptors have stood before thousands of years later impressed with the skill of formation and strength of depiction."
Jassim al-Abbasi, who sells artifacts in Baghdad, said Hikmat's artistic style is truly impressive.
"The aesthetic and artistic style of artist Mohammed Ghani Hikmat is the thing that makes people yearn to see his works all the time. We make these works of art in miniature sizes using pottery and copper so that people can acquire them," he said. "I think the next works of art that will be made by this artist will be met with the same admiration, and that there will be demand for them from citizens."
Fine artist Majid Fadhil said tourists visit countries that pay attention to works of art and sculpture. "The thing that arouses the interest of tourists is the presence of statues that tell the history and stories of the country they visit."
"The distinguishing feature of the works of art done by Hikmat is that they are full of history and tales and embody them as if they were talking," Fadhil said. "Therefore, they will attract tourists to Baghdad once again."