Creating new perspectives since 2009

UK to install ‘world’s first’ sculpture celebrating women who wear hijab

September 19, 2023 at 11:59 am

Students of various colleges protest against the Hijab ban by Karnataka government at Park Circus, on February 12, 2022 in Kolkata, India [Samir Jana/Hindustan Times via Getty Images]

Final touches are being made to a 16-foot steel sculpture dedicated to women who wear the hijab, which is set to be installed in Britain’s second largest city, Birmingham, next month.

The one-tonne statue, “Strength of the Hijab” was commissioned by local charity Legacy West Midlands and is reportedly the first of its kind in the world and was designed by renowned artist Luke Perry to celebrate Muslim women who wear the headscarf.

Perry was quoted as saying: “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 site for the artwork will be Smethwick, which the sculptor explained is “a humongous part of the community that is from the Islamic faith.”

READ: Egypt bans niqab in schools

Perry told Birmingham Mail that “The idea for the piece came from speaking to Muslim women who I work with at Community Connect Foundation. I asked them what artwork they would like to see and they talked about how they have no representation; nothing that looked like them.”

“They want to be able to show their children things in the environment which makes them feel connected, important and gives them pride. Not just endless history on rich white men,” he said.

“It’s nice to represent the times. It’s about making people feel like they belong somewhere. In my artwork I like to convey themes of ‘home’ and having pride in the community.”

OPINION: France’s obsession with Muslim women’s bodies