Tributes are being paid to Senegalese sculptor Ousmane Sow, led by the country’s President Macky Sall, who calls him “a great Senegalese artist”.
He’s tweeted a film of Sow talking (in French) about his work and the importance of his sculptures having an African sensibility:
Un grand artiste du Sénégal vient de nous quitter. J'appréciais l'Homme autant que son oeuvre. Mes condoléances à la famille d'Ousmane Sow pic.twitter.com/imJ7c3uG7C
— Macky SALL (@Macky_Sall) December 1, 2016
Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour has also expressed what a great loss Sow is to Africa on the world stage:
" GRAND OUSMANE ", une très grande perte !. Une fierté Africaine et une référence mondiale qui nous a hissé très HAUT. #RipOusmaneSow. YN.
— Youssou Ndour (@YoussouNdourSN) December 1, 2016
Sow began his series of striking bronzes of muscular African men with the Nuba wrestlers in the late 1980s. He went on to create other acclaimed collections: The Maasai, The Zulus, The Fulani and The Egyptians.
He also did a sculpture of the famous French writer Victor Hugo:
Standing 6ft 4in tall (1.9m), Dakar-born Sow was as strong and handsome as his sculptures, once proudly saying that he “never had a boss” in his life, the AFP news agency reports.
But he knew hardship and hunger after arriving in France aged 22 working at several jobs before training as a nurse and later a physiotherapist, AFP says.
At the age of 50 when he was living back in Senegal, he devoted himself fully to sculpture.