In a picture taken in 2014, Egyptian sculptor Adam Henein smiles as he stands by some of his works in the capital Cairo. (AFP/Bassam Alzogby)
Prominent Egyptian sculptor Adam Henein, who led the restoration of the Great Sphinx in Giza, died on Friday at the age of 91, the culture ministry announced.
The acclaimed artist, who passed away after a struggle with illness, leaves behind a rich legacy of artwork, much of which draws inspiration from Egyptian heritage.
"The Egyptian visual arts scene lost a genius," Culture Minister Inas Abdel-Dayem said in a statement, describing Henein as "unique".
Henein was born in 1929 in the Bab al-Shaaria district in Cairo to a family of silversmiths and jewelers.
He demonstrated artistic talent from an early age, modelling a clay figure of ancient Egyptian King Ramses II at eight years old.
"My father used to display my work in the window of his silver workshop and it received wide acclaim," Henein said in a 2019 documentary by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Henein studied at Cairo's School of Fine Arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1953.
He continued his studies in Munich and later lived in Paris for more than two decades before returning to Egypt.
In the 1990s, he led the team that restored the Great Sphinx at the Giza plateau near Egypt's famed pyramids.
Henein's home in Giza, which was converted into a museum, boasts a variety of paintings and sculptures.
In 1996, he founded the annual Aswan International Sculpture Symposium (AISS), which draws artists from around the world.
Henein's work has been exhibited in Egypt, Europe and beyond and he received many awards, including the Egyptian State Merit Award for arts in 1998 and the Mubarak Art Award in 2014.
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