Google’s famous doodle on Wednesday celebrates Mohammed Ghani Hikmat, a famed Iraqi sculptor (born in 1929 and passed away on September 12, 2011).
Many of Hikmat’s sculptures were inspired by the tales of One Thousand and One Nights and have become Baghdad landmarks.
Hikmat was respected as one of the most significant Iraqi artists in modern history and many of his sculptures have become monuments for the city of Baghdad.
He frequently drew inspiration from the tales of One Thousand and One Nights, creating works such as a sculpture of Queen Scheherazade and King Shahrayar (1971), which is located in Baghdad’s Aby Nuwas Street and often described as the city’s showpiece.
“Ghani’s creative hands have adorned his beloved city with the romantic spirit and the mood of One Thousand and One Nights, subtly reminding her inhabitants lest they forget her glorious past in the midst of her modern urban development. To Ghani, Baghdad is a beautiful and sensuous woman and he was gravely saddened and offended by her destruction and the world’s disrespect of her status,” Nada Shabout writes in her obituary following Hikmat’s passing in 2011, published on Jadaliyya.
After the destruction and looting of the Iraqi Museum of Modern Art in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the fall of Saddam Hussein, Hikmat responded by recovering some of the stolen works.
“He organized a campaign of searching for and buying back stolen works. He formed and headed a Committee for Recovering Iraq’s Culture and was able to recover about 100 important works by renowned artists, starting with Jewad Selim’s wooden statue of Motherhood,” Shabout wrote.