Kuwaiti sculptor Sami Mohammed finished his towering statue of the country’s first emir over four decades ago, but now it just gathers dust unseen in a long-shuttered office block.
Stymied by a conservative view of Islam that bans representations of the body, the 75-year-old faces any artist’s nightmare: he can’t get his work displayed to the public in his homeland.
Like other sculptors in the Gulf state he bristles at claims that his creations constitute idol worship and urges the authorities to push back against demands he sees as outmoded.
“We have to get past these issues because the human, the individual, has reason and thought, and it’s really not possible that we would go back to worshipping idols,” Mohammed, himself a devout Muslim, says.
“We no longer live in a time of ignorance. We live in the era of technology.”