IT giant Google on Thursday will celebrate what would be Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar's 121st birthday with a banner on its flagship search website depicting Mokhtar's iconic 'Egyptian Renaissance' sculpture before a Cairo skyline.
'The Egyptian Renaissance' is one of Mokhtar's best-known works, currently located in front of the Giza Zoo near Cairo University. The sculpture depicts a sphinx rising from the ground next to an Egyptian peasant woman, meant to symbolise Egyptian history, cultural renaissance and resistance to occupation.
Mokhtar's other iconic sculptures include a statue of Egyptian nationalist Saad Zaghloul and an image from the Egyptian revolution; the first located in front of Cairo's Qasr Al-Nil Bridge and the second in the coastal city of Alexandria.
Mokhtar had been part of Zaghloul's movement against British rule in Egypt and a member of the liberal Wafd Party, which had spearheaded the fight against foreign occupation.
Born on 10 May 1891, Mokhtar was born in a small village near Mahalla, where his father had served as the Omda, or mayor. He moved to Cairo for his artistic studies and had been among the first to study sculpture at Cairo University's fine arts faculty. He later continued his academic work, supported by Prince Kamal Youssef, at Paris' Ecole des Beaux Arts.
Mokhtar went on to become one of contemporary Egypt's most celebrated sculptors. In1962, the culture ministry opened a museum in Cairo bearing his name and displaying many of his works.