A sculpture celebrating centuries of Black British history has been unveiled in Birmingham.
“Such an honour along with Paulette Hamilton MP to unveil the latest sculpture in the UK on Black British history and the Windrush Generation from Birmingham and Black Country contribution to the NHS and transport. Recognition for WTBBC (Centre Of The Earth) and West Midlands Legacy in delivery of this and the artists Luke Perry and Canaan Brown.” Patrick Vernon OBE
The multi-layered piece, by the Soho Loop Canal in Winson Green, depicts historical figures from Roman and Tudor times through to the 20th century.
Artists Luke Perry and Canaan Brown said their design had been influenced and supported by the local community.
The unveiling on Saturday was attended by Erdington MP Paulette Hamilton and activist Patrick Vernon.
The artwork, titled Black British History is British History, is split by ship masts to represent communities of Black sailors who settled in port cities such as Liverpool, Bristol and London.
Other figures include a bus conductor, celebrating Black people who worked on public transport after World War Two and a nurse figure to recognise the contribution of black NHS workers.
A figure of a boy in school uniform also sits on the sign of a road visited by Malcolm X during a tour of Smethwick in 1965.
Mr Brown said the artwork was the first of its kind in Birmingham.
“The sculpture aims to inspire younger versions of ourselves,” he said.
“To the Black Britons, diasporans, and people in society at large, the sculpture serves as a message: Still we rise.”
Luke Perry described it as an important part of the movement for positive change.
“This monument, designed alongside young and old members of Birmingham’s Black communities, has been built entirely by the design of people with a vested interest in the positive representation of Black British history,” he said.
The Black Heritage Walk Network said learning about cultural heritage could foster a sense of pride and belonging.