Saying thank you through art.
A spectacular public art installation to thank NHS staff and all key workers for their ongoing courage and dedication is coming to Birmingham on August 20. The art installation named Gratitude has been developed by leading global art producer, Wild In Art, who have produced art sculpture trails for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic mascot trail, plus The Big Hoot and The Big Sleuth trails in Birmingham.
Gratitude will bring together 51 uniquely-designed human form sculptures by artists from the UK’s nations and regions to Birmingham’s Chamberlain Square for 10 days. Each sculpture is curated in partnership with creative ambassador Dame Zandra Rhodes and will reflect the stories and contributions of this unprecedented year through beautiful art and audio. The inspiration for this art installation is based on the image of key workers standing together, but apart. Gratitude aims to connect people and communities, artists and businesses, NHS staff and all key workers, inviting people to come together, reflect and show their appreciation.
Artwork will be on display from multi-talented artists and designers from across the country including iconic Scottish fashion designer Pam Hogg with her sculpture ‘Courage’, a statue of remembrance, for selfless, life-risking, endless dedication, renowned sculptural artist Andrew Logan with his design ‘Spiral Stardust – Homage to the Alexander Technique’, British fashion and textile designer Kitty Joseph, and one of the UK’s leading ceramic artists, Kate Malone with her design ‘Life Force’ which is inspired by the optimism and joy in nature.
Their artwork and designs will form part of the installation alongside fashion icon and London based designer, Dame Zandra Rhodes and other highly-acclaimed British artists including Birmingham artist Edward Luke Thrush with his design ‘Super Stars’, which pays tribute to the amazing work done by all key workers who have kept the country moving during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Plus, this unique installation will also feature Cardiff-based illustrator Matt Joyce with his design, ‘The Joy of Pets’ celebrating all the animals that have kept us company during the pandemic, internationally-acclaimed Manchester street art muralist duo Nomad Clan with their sculpture ‘Digital Conscience’, a design which explores digital identity, virtual reality, over stimulation and value systems during this challenging time and London artist Harkiran Kalsi with her design ‘I Am Thankful For…’, inspired by all the things that make us feel grateful for being alive and appreciating the small things.
Designers and artists also hailing from Birmingham, and the first artists to be commissioned, include Jessica Perrin with her ‘We Can Be Heroes’ sculpture, which depicts a colourful expression of gratitude for some extremely valued and hardworking key workers. In addition, you’ll find MrASingh’s ‘Community Strength’ design, which is a dedication to all of the fantastic voluntary key workers from diverse backgrounds, Lucky Pablo with ‘Lockdown Pastimes’, a design which is inspired by hobbies and pastimes which kept us going throughout the pandemic such as baking, art and gardening, as well as Nisha Grover’s sculpture ‘The Love Being’, which represents a message of unity and togetherness for these challenging times.
Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art said: “Gratitude is set to be a beautiful and striking tribute which celebrates the incredible courage and dedication of the UK’s NHS staff and all key workers and supports the vital work of NHS Charities Together. We are delighted to be launching our tour at Paradise Birmingham, after months of hard work from artists across the UK, who have dedicated their time and creativity to help us produce an installation which reflects our endless Gratitude for the care and kindness that all key workers have provided.”
The installation will also share real-life stories and poems about key workers, a selection of which have now been recorded by a host of well-known voices from across the UK, including Adil Ray, Hugh Bonneville, Sarah Parish, Norman Cook, Christopher Eccleston, Julie Hesmondhalgh, John Thomson, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Shobna Gulati and KT Tunstall.
Visitors to the installation will be able to listen to the stories and poems via the Gratitude App and website, which have been brought to life by the actors paying tribute to key workers. From touching tributes to doctors and staff at Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital to a light-hearted story about a dedicated deputy head teacher striving to keep her pupils happy, a railway worker who has gone over and above his duties to keep people safe on their daily commutes to a powerful poem about our NHS heroes, listeners are sure to be taken on a journey of quiet reflection whilst observing the stunning artwork.
To give people plenty of time and space to observe the art installation thanking the NHS, there will be dedicated time slots available to visit the site, therefore an allocated number of free tickets for the general public will be available to reserve for each city. Tickets for Gratitude’s first public opening at Chamberlain Square, Paradise Birmingham will be available from 10am on July 30 on the official Gratitude website.
Ticket releases for Manchester, Edinburgh and London will be announced in the coming weeks alongside further news. Once the UK tour is finished, the sculptures will be auctioned off to benefit NHS Charities Together, supporting hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental healthcare providers and other health partnerships. Wild In Art is also the award-winning art producer of the trail Bee in the City in Manchester.