Ordinary family immortalised

There’s a brand new statue/sculpture being unveiled in Birmingham today.  The piece, which will stand outside the new library in Centenary Square, celebrates an ‘ordinary’ family from the city, two sisters who are also single mums.

As with so much public art, it’s already provoked quite a storm of reaction, judging by the comments in The Guardian.  Then again, some of the comments are rather one-sided to say the least (consisting of variations on a theme of ‘there’s too much art in Birmingham and it’s all crap’), and it’s worth bearing in mind that earlier statues (such as the ‘Forward‘ one mentioned several times in the comments) were also extremely unpopular when first erected.

I rather liked Forward.  It was unusual (pink and slightly lumpy) but it was full of detail and the message it portrayed, of ordinary working people moving forward through the industry the city is so famous for, was inspiring.  Do I like the new statue as much?  Possibly not.  I do like the pose, the naturalness of the family, and the idea that they might easily have just wandered out of the library.  In that respect it’s rather like the Eleanor Rigby statue in Liverpool, which sits quietly on a bench and looks so real you expect to see it get up or throw some crumbs to the pigeons.  I’m less keen on the too-shiny finish, and the bump on the pregnant sister does look a little… strange.

What does everyone else think?

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7 thoughts on “Ordinary family immortalised

  1. Chris Ravenhall says:

    I loved ‘Forward’. The new statue might grow on me but it doesn’t really ‘say’ anything specifically about Birmingham.

    • Very true, Christine – there’s no ‘message’ behind it, nothing to send shivers down your neck when you realise what it represents. And I must admit I shed a tear when I heard Forward had burned down…

  2. Can’t say it does much for me, Tess, but maybe if I saw it in real life I’d feel more enthusiastic. That pregnant tummy is certainly a bit weird. I’m a big fan of public art and, coincidentally, am just back from a trip to Liverpool where we sought out the Eleanor Rigby statue. I found her profoundly moving and aesthetically pleasing.

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