Background of the project:
The Forward Together monument inspired by the Birmingham motto, brings together 25 ordinary diverse Midlanders that are extraordinary in their endeavours. The real people that are not usually celebrated, have their own unique story to motivate and inspire others. From those that suffered domestic abuse, to cancer, to disabilities, violence and blood shed (Holocaust), to simple acceptance in society, to racism, to mental health. The monument visibly represents our multi-coloured multicultural society and a side elevation can be seen on the back of the T-shirt.
The monument is pertinent to our times. The current female artist and male forger (as per the Forward crest) are working with the 25 ordinary citizens to drag out of the ground a crest. Birmingham poet and actor Benjamin Zephaniah quotes which he approved are embossed on the crest. “No one is here without a struggle” and “We all came here from somewhere“. The crest featuring these quotes are on the front of the T-shirt.
The monument was built in 14 days in Cradley Heath led by artist Luke Perry for a competition to be aired in October 2021 (details of the competition are currently confidential). Luke has an amazing background in public art, representing those that are underrepresented. He brought together Pauline Bailey, Nats Perry, Raaj Shamji and H Wright from the community, to build this the monument to addresses the imbalance of representation in public monuments. Those that have seen it, including Benjamin Zephaniah, state that this is a “symbol of Birmingham and the Midlands”. Others have said it’s a great masterpiece for diversity or simply a monument that demonstrates what happens when we all work together, supporting the city’s ethics and values.
Even though the Team were in the midst of a lockdown they challenged themselves on getting real people to be models for the monument. It would have been far easier if they simply got silhouettes of people that represent the city but they decided to retain the integrity and the soul of the message. Luke’s team who in themselves represent the diversity of the Midlands were trained in his Cradley Heath factory, where this monument was made. An empowering piece that allows people to represent themselves that can be copied and adopted for anywhere in the world. We are proud to have done this simple concept for our City.
The full t-shirt design and ordering process will be launched from 6th July 2021.
Please register your interest for updates.