New public art to celebrate Birmingham’s diversity by going Forward Together

05 July 2021

Forward Together

Birmingham’s diversity, creativity and spirit is celebrated in a new artwork unveiled in the city centre.

Forward Together is a reimagining of the city’s crest being raised by a line of 25 figures, designed by artist Luke Perry and made by a team of his friends.

Inspired by the city’s motto Forward, the distinctive new landmark brings together a collection local people as the steel silhouettes who the team regard as extraordinary, everyday people.

Luke’s background is in public art, representing those that are underrepresented, and his team created Forward Together to address the imbalance of representation in public monuments. 

The 13-metre long installation was built over 14 days by Luke’s team – who also represent the region’s diversity – who were trained at his Cradley Heath factory where it was made. 

The reimagined Forward crest includes quotes from Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem We Refugees – “No one is here without a struggle” and “We all came here from somewhere.”

The installation is currently on display in Victoria Square and will remain in the City Centre for 12 months.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “I’m looking forward to unveiling this impressive piece of work which reflects not just the diversity of our great city, but also what can happen when people work together.

“The fact that Luke has been inspired by local people with extraordinary stories to illustrate the diversity of our city and how we can come together to achieve things is a great message for Birmingham – and beyond.”

Luke, who will be unveiling the statue with the Leader, said: “In recent years, there seems to be a growing mood of opposition in the world: we all are encouraged to find our tribe, pick a corner and cram ourselves into a pigeonhole.

“Forward Together is a view of an alternative world, yet one that exists and is working if we choose to see it. We can all pull together to raise our society out of the shade.

“It was the greatest honour to be able to work with friends to create this piece and to celebrate people who do not have their share of credit.

“I hope this artwork is a small part of the massive movement to unite, rather than divide, our communities: we just need to see our common loves rather than our exclusive differences.”