16-Foot Statue of Hijab-Wearing Woman to Be Unveiled in Suburb of Multicultural Birmingham

Renowned sculptor Luke Perry is putting the finishing touches to his latest piece, 'Streng
Phil Barnett/PA Images via Getty Images

A 16-foot statue of a woman wearing the Islamic hijab headdress will be unveiled next month in a suburb of the multicultural city of Birmingham, in what is believed to be a first in the world.

The sculpture designed by leftist artist Luke Perry, dubbed the ‘Strength of the Hijab’, will be erected in the English town of Smethwick in October and will stand 16 feet (five metres) and weigh approximately one tonne. According to a report from the BBC, the Birmingham suburb statue is thought to be the first of its kind, with even Islamic countries not celebrating the hijab in such a manner.

Mr Perry said: “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.

“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 leftist sculptor previously worked on the ‘Black British History is British History’ sculpture, which was unveiled in Winson Green earlier this year. Shortly after its installation in May, the sculpture was defaced with graffiti.

Perry said that while his new sculpture in Birmingham —  a minority-majority city according to the latest census — could be deemed as “controversial” for various reasons, he added: “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.”

However, others opposed the celebration of the hijab, which is seen by some as representative of repression against women in the Islamic world.

Host of the New Culture Forum podcast, Peter Whittle said: “I imagine the women of Iran, fighting and protesting against the wearing of this symbol of subjugation, would look on this with bitter disdain.”

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