Iraqi sculptor Mohammed Ghani Hikmat to create four statues in Baghdad

Mohammad Ghani Hikmat already has well known works of art around Baghdad. [Mahmood al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

Mohammad Ghani Hikmat already has well known works of art around Baghdad. [Mahmood al-Mulhim/Mawtani]

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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."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    يحيى الطويل

    2010-10-29

    I think that the Kahramana Statue, which is located in the Karrada district at the crossroads, is one of the most famous ancient statues in Iraq. It was carved many years ago and there are different stories about it, the most famous of which is that many of the world's countries pay special attention to it because of its connection to the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. It is a very beautiful statue of a girl standing and holding a utensil that is pouring water into forty other jars that are placed in a geometrically beautiful pattern. This statue is aesthetically special and it is in a premium location. Thus, we demand more care, in order to forever keep the Kahramana Square Statue as one of Iraq's icons and pillars, as it is part of the identity of the Karrada district.

  • احمد شاكر

    2010-10-28

    My fellow residents of Karrada consider the Statue of Kahramana Square to be one of the most famous statues in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and a symbol of the Karrada district. Kahramana Square and the Kahramana Statue in its center will always remain in the memory of all Baghdadis, especially those living in Karrada. Today, however, this magnificent and beautiful statue, which has become one of the most important and most famous monuments, is not taken care of. It is suffering significantly from neglect and lack of maintenance that could restore it and save it from being ruined. It is amazing to pass by it and see the waterfall, but this has unfortunately stopped working because of the lack and scarcity of water. Thus, water should be provided and continuously supplied to this statue, so as to keep it working as designed, and to maintain it and make it a monument to the beauty of Iraq.

  • منير سعد

    2010-10-28

    The Mayoralty of the capital Baghdad must begin work on moving some of the famous statues in Baghdad, because I think that their current locations are inappropriate or they are not well exhibited. They need to be put in the places that are most visited, where they can be well guarded from theft. The famous statue of King Faisal riding one of the finest Arabian horses, for example, which was beautifully designed and carved, should not be left where it is now. It may be subject to vandalism or theft, and I think it would be better to move it to the Mansour district, for example, in the center of the city, so it can be seen by everybody, and at the same time, can be protected against damage and theft. The Antar Statue in Antar Square could also be moved to another place, together with other important statues that reflect the character of Iraqi art and the historical periods of Iraq. These artworks should be maintained and given greater importance. We must remember that their artists made great efforts in designing them, and that they cost them a lot of money. They should not be neglected in this way. It is the duty of the Mayoralty of Baghdad, after obtaining approval, to work on moving these statues to other places that are worthy of them, and to work on maintaining them.

  • راني حسيب

    2010-10-28

    Baghdad has many statues, but in my opinion they were not located in a coherent or deliberately studied way. Rather, they were arranged haphazardly in an unplanned way, as if they were placed just to take up space, regardless of the historical connotations and importance of the statues. In my opinion, the most important memorial in Baghdad today is the memorial of Al-Firdaws Square, which symbolizes the freedom and the end of the hateful dictatorship in Iraq, after the destruction of the statue of the idol Saddam. However, I see that the memorial that was placed in it after that means nothing; it is obscure and unclear. I believe that the desire to build a memorial in this place quickly made the concerned authorities overlook the importance of this site and memorial in particular. This square became the place that hosts any demonstration or protest to demand more freedom or democracy, because it was the first square to witness the demolition of the statue of the idol. Since then, this arena has become very famous. Hence, I think that the concerned authority which is responsible for the statues and memorials in Baghdad should remove the current memorial in this area and replace it with a new one that reflects its significance and its democratic symbolism. I suggest making a statue of a dove, to represent peace and Paradise, Firdaws, along with small statues and indications that symbolize the people and freedom from restraints and tyranny. This arena must receive special care, because it has become one of the most famous arenas in Iraq in general and Baghdad in particular.

  • حليم محمد

    2010-10-28

    Baghdad has many statues and memorials with a long history that represent parts of the history of Iraq. Kahramanah Square is one of the great number of statues and memorials that represent one of the most wonderful historic stories (One Thousand and One Nights) that we used to hear from our grandparents, and we are emotionally bound to it. The name of Baghdad is connected with these memorials that represent different phases of the magnificent literary heritage of the city. I live in the Al-Karada district and I want to talk about the memorial in Kahramanah Square, which is a beautiful statue that conveys many historic meanings and indications referring to the great Iraqi literature through the statue of Kahramanah and the forty thieves. Unfortunately, this historic statue is clearly neglected, and there are no maintenance teams to take care of it regularly. Therefore, the condition of this statue is going from bad to worse, and its problems are increasing. Consequently, we, the people of Al-Karada, call on the government and the concerned authorities that are responsible for the memorials to exert more efforts to maintain them continuously. In this way, the statue of Kahramanah will remain a symbol of the sublime Iraqi history and narrative literature of Baghdad at that time.

  • شاهد

    2010-10-28

    In my opinion, taking care of the statues and the memorials will not cost the Iraqi government much. Renovating these artistic works in the squares of Baghdad will not cost Iraq anything. Hence, I call on the government to quickly put a plan in place to renovate these heritage symbols, especially in Kahramanah Square. That is because the statue in this square is different from all the other statues in Baghdad. Many foreign tourists know about Kahramanah, which is connected with Baghdad and its history. One of my European friends came to Iraq many years ago, and the first thing that he wanted to see was the statue of Kahramanah, as he had read about it in books on the history of Baghdad. I took him at that time to see the statue, and I was very glad when he saw it. However, his remarks about the neglect and dirtiness of this very important statue in the history of Baghdad grieved me. Therefore, I call on the Iraqi government to work on developing the memorial of Kahramanah Square by cleaning the statue and its neighborhood. They should plant trees and flowers in the square, to make it more beautiful. I also call for the appointment of a special team to take care of this statue in particular, to clean and maintain it. In this way, Kahramanah will appear at her best as one of the most prominent landmarks of Baghdad. This will also make Al-Karada more beautiful, as a result of taking care of its heart (Kahramanah square).

  • سالم عواد

    2010-10-26

    The city of Baghdad has many statues that speak about the old and contemporary history of Iraq. These statues are very important, and the Mayoralty of Baghdad needs to take care of these statues. In addition, they should stop setting up statues in the areas that are rarely visited by citizens. Such statues should be erected in places that attract tourists and visitors from Iraq, or Iraqi citizens who come from outside Baghdad. The statue of King Faisal in al-Salihia is one of these important statues, and I expect that it would be moved to a better area, that would be suitable for the statue and the personality. We should not forget that King Faisal the first has an important influence on modern Iraqi history. His reign witnessed the first Iraqi government, and he was the first king of the modern Iraqi state. Therefore, I suggest that Baghdad’s Mayoralty should move the statue to a better area, such as al-Karada, as it is usually visited by many Iraqi citizens and foreign and Iraqi tourists. Hence, I believe that moving this statue to a crowded area like al-Karada is a good idea. We wish to see this happen, so that all people will have an idea about the founder of the modern Iraqi state.