Birmingham to unveil sculpture celebrating women who wear hijab

The 5-metre tall sculpture will be installed in the Smethwick area of the English city

Hijab statue to be installed in UK city

Hijab statue to be installed in UK city
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A new sculpture celebrating women who wear hijab will be unveiled in Birmingham next month.

Renowned sculptor Luke Perry designed The Strength of the Hijab and it will be installed in the Smethwick area in October.

The sculpture is believed to be the first in the world to celebrate women who wear the head covering.

The sculpture is 5 metres tall and weighs around a tonne.

“The Strength of the Hijab is a piece which represents women who wear hijabs of the Islamic faith, and it’s really there because it’s such an underrepresented part of our community, but such an important one,” Mr Perry said.

“They need visibility, it’s so important, so working with the community to come up with the designs has been really exciting because we didn’t know what it was going to look like until now.

“The location of where it’s going is Smethwick, [where] there’s a humongous part of the community that is from the Islamic faith.

“They wear the hijab as part of their community, and it is really underrepresented.

“It’s something which people feel very strongly about, identify with, [and] they feel happy about and comfortable with.

“But it’s not something which is regularly seen, especially on public art, let alone in a heroic narrative, so this is something that celebrates people who are very much under-celebrated.”

Mr Perry previously designed the Black British History is British History sculpture, alongside Canaan Brown, which was installed in nearby Winson Green in May.

That piece was defaced shortly after it was installed, but while Mr Perry acknowledged the new sculpture could be “controversial”, he said it was important to represent everyone who lived in the UK.

“There’s a possibility that this piece could be controversial for many different reasons,” he said.

“I don’t feel like any of them are valid, but people do, there are a lot of people who object to the differences that we have in our communities, and would like them to be more divided.

“But the future of our country is about what unites us, not what pulls us apart, which is why it’s important to have representation across the whole of the UK, of everybody that lives here.

“The reaction has been really, really positive.

“People have seen some photos, but they haven’t actually seen the sculpture in person.

“I think people are really impressed by the size, certainly, but the level of detail, I think has surprised people too, and that’s really satisfying.

“I think it’s going to be a loved part of the community.”

The sculpture, commissioned by the Legacy West Midlands charity, is made of steel which will be galvanised before its completion.

Updated: September 18, 2023, 9:41 PM