• Thursday, July 18, 2024


After Modi, sculptor creates Sunak’s likeness in bronze

Surgeon used pictures for Tory leader’s bust as he praised ‘kind’ Indian prime minister

A photograph Hadey Hakim used for Rishi Sunak’s bust

By: Amit Roy

A SCULPTOR has made a bronze bust of Rishi Sunak just as he did with the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi three years ago.

“I have the Rishi bust at home in London – I haven’t had a chance to offer it to him,” Nadey Hakim told Eastern Eye.

The 66-year-old, who was born in Britain into a Lebanese family, is one of Britain’s most distinguished transplant surgeons.

LEAD Sculptor INSET 2 Donald Trump e1720615962930
Donald Trump

He is professor of transplantation surgery at Imperial College London and general surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic London. Hakim is known for kidney and pancreas transplants, and being part of the surgical team that performed the world’s first hand transplantation in 1998 and a double arm transplantation in 2000.

“Sculpture is my hobby,” Hakim revealed.

Should anyone wish to buy a copy of the Sunak bust, it is on offer for about £35,000. But most of Hakim’s busts, including Modi’s, have been gifted to world leaders.

He created one of Queen Elizabeth II in 2013; David Cameron, which was unveiled at the Carlton Club; Theresa May at Downing Street; president Macron at the Élysée Palace; Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2017; Kim Jong-un at the Pyongyang Museum in North Korea; Donald Trump (who thought his bust was “So GREAT!”); Boris Johnson; and Vladimir Putin.

Possibly because he has the hands of a surgeon capable of performing delicate operations, Hakim somehow manages to capture remarkable likenesses of his subjects – as he appears to have done with Sunak.

Asked how much time he had spent on the former British prime minister’s bust, Hakim replied: “I have been doing sculpture for 30 years. So I’m quite quick. I depended on pictures. The way I have done it with Rishi is that I took pictures of him without him noticing, obviously. Then I looked at pictures online. Out of all this, I managed to get it.”

He added: “It was the same with Modi. Actually, there is a copy of the Modi bust at the Indian High Commission in London, close to that of (Indira) Gandhi.”

LEAD Sculptor INSET 1 with Modi
Narendra Modi puts his own glasses on the sculpture

He said the Indian prime minister’s bust was “very well received by him. He loved it, and it’s in his office (in Delhi). I offered it to him personally when he came to Glasgow for COP26 (the climate change conference from October 31 to November 13, 2021).”

Hakim warmed to the Indian leader when they met. At one point, he persuaded Modi to take off his spectacles and place them on the bridge of the nose on the bust to make it look more lifelike.

He said he was able to see an aspect of the Indian prime minister that has not always been apparent to others.

“I had done the sculpture of the (Indian) prime minister, because, as I could see, he’s quite a popular gentleman. Everybody likes him. I had really liked his features, and I decided to do it.

“And I have to say, I was very thrilled by his first reaction. He’s obviously so easy going.”

Hakim remembered his lastminute improvisation, because the bust did not have glasses.

LEAD Sculptor INSET 3 Boris Johnson CROPPED
Boris Johnson

“Somebody said, ‘Where are the glasses?’ So he took off his own glasses, and I put it on the bust, which I thought was a good move. He was happy, I believe, and I hope everybody from India and elsewhere will like the features, and hopefully find that it is complimentary to what the prime minister looks like.”

“I was impressed even before speaking to him,” Hakim added. “He spoke to every single person, and he gave every single person the time necessary to respect them, to give them the time to respond, and he had a kind word for every single person.

“This is number one. Number two, I had never met him before, but he automatically, immediately made me feel at ease to speak to him, like a brother, really.

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