Life-size Sharon on show in Tel Aviv gallery

Nearly five years after he went into a coma Ariel Sharon is to be immortalised in a Tel Aviv art gallery.

A life-size sculpture of the former Israeli prime minister, who suffered a stroke in January 2005, will go on display in a Tel Aviv art gallery.

The war hero and politician, who climbed the political ladder as a member of Likud but in 2005 founded the centrist Kadima party, has been unconscious ever since his stroke.

But artist Noam Braslavsky’s impression is of Mr Sharon lying in a hospital bed on a drip. His eyes are open and his stomach rises as if he were breathing. Visitors will only be allowed to view the exhibit in small groups.

Mr Braslavsky said: "Mr Sharon has huge influence over the lives of everyone that lives in this country. It's my right to come to this persona and to bring him back to the headlines.”

Tel Aviv art curator Joshua Simon said: "Sharon's still breathing and beating body is an allegory for the Israeli political body.”

Mr Sharon, who is now 82, presided over Israel’s disengagement from settlements in the Gaza Strip in summer 2005.

Two weeks after his stroke, the terrorist group Hamas won power in the Palestinian legislative election, seizing control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Mr Sharon was succeeded as prime minister by Ehud Olmert, but Kadima lost power in 2009.

Last updated: 4:23pm, October 19 2010