A statue depicting a woman in an Islamic hijab is scheduled to be revealed next month in a suburb of the diverse city of Birmingham, marking what many believe to be a global first.
The hijab is a head covering that, in religious cultures, conceals the hair and neck and often drapes over a woman’s shoulders.
The artwork, crafted by artist Luke Perry and named the ‘Strength of the Hijab’ is scheduled to be showcased in Smethwick in October. The impressive piece measures 16 feet (about five meters) and weighs around one ton.
Reports from the BBC suggest that this statue in the suburb of Birmingham might be the only one of its kind, with even majority-Muslim countries not having such representations.
Perry commented, “The Strength of the Hijab symbolizes the women of the Islamic faith who wear hijabs. It’s a tribute to an essential but often underrepresented segment of our society.”
“It’s crucial to bring visibility to these women. The collaborative effort in shaping the design has been particularly exhilarating because the final look was unknown until recently.”
Previously, Perry was involved in creating the ‘Black British History is British History’ sculpture, which was presented in Winson Green earlier this year. Unfortunately, it faced vandalism shortly after its display in May.
Addressing potential controversy, Perry said his new Birmingham statue, in a city with a diverse population, might be seen as contentious by some. He stated, “There are objections, with some wanting our communities more segregated. However, we should focus on what binds us rather than the many things that separate us. That’s why representing everyone in the UK is essential.”
On the other hand, some critics argue that the hijab symbolizes oppression in some Islamic cultures.
From the New Culture Forum podcast, Peter Whittle remarked, “I suspect women in Iran, who are pushing back against wearing the hijab as a sign of submission, would view this statue with skepticism.”