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I bring Kim and Moon closer together

22 November, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Sculpture by Nadey Hakim of North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong, right

I GATHER my column was picked up in Seoul, South Korea – and led to President Moon Jae-in asking the sculptor I had written about to sculpt a bronze bust of him, similar to the one he had done for the Supreme Leader of North Korea.

I discovered what happened when the sculptor, Nadey Hakim, who also happens to be a world leading transplant surgeon in his full-time occupation, rang me the other day to tell me his great news.

It turns out, he told me, he had been contacted by the South Korean embas­sy at his Cricklewood home about his bust of the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, and asked whether he would sculpt one of President Moon, who liked it so much.

They had read all about it on the New Journal website and thought the picture of the Supreme Leader captured the great man so well they wanted one for their own president.

Apparently, President Moon Jae-in is visiting London early next year and Mr Hakim has been commissioned to sculpt his bust based on photographs, and when it is finished they would like it to stand next to another of the Supreme Leader at the embassy.

“It won’t be difficult to complete another as I have the mould of the original,” Mr Hakim told me.

Nadey Hakim, left, and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in

Now he is getting down to work on the bust of President Moon Jae-in which he is confident he’ll be able to capture from photographs.

It all started when Mr Hakim decided on a whim to sculpt the Supreme Leader last year, and then decided to contact the North Korean attaché in London about it. He was so taken aback by the very idea of a bust of the Supreme Leader that he insisted on seeing it in Mr Hakim’s studio which is on the top floor of his home.

Mr Hakim was worried about whether he’d like it but he had no need because it brought smiles and a clap of delight on his shoulders from the attaché when he called at his home.

As I reported last month, Mr Hakim was invited to Pyongyang with his bust which is 50cm high weighing 44 kilos. It was much appreciated in Pyongyang and is now in a museum – apparently, there is no other bust of the great man himself.

Surgeons have all sorts of interests to complement their nerve-racking profession and it is not always golf! Mr Hakim’s is sculpture, which first drew him 20 years ago as a result of which he has since carved out a reputation as an imaginative and original sculptor producing images of Theresa May, David Cameron as well as the Pope. His bust of the Pope led to an audience with His Holiness and a promise that the bust would be kept in the Vatican.

When Mr Hakim began his life as a surgeon he probably didn’t know where it would lead but he became fascinated by the newly emerging world of transplantation and within a few years his reputation as a top class surgeon, especially in the removal and replacement of the pancreas, established him as the “king of transplants”.

He has pubished 151 papers on the subject and 21 textbooks – and somehow he finds time for the art of sculpture.


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