The winning submission for a new piece of public art commemorating the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan Asians in Leicester has been revealed.
Entitled Sculptural Gateway, the piece is the work of Midlands-based artist Anuradha Patel. In her submission, Ms Patel says the two aspects of the Structural Gateway represent the two communities impacted by the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972. The structure is connected at the top, symbolising the transition of a generation of people from one country to another.
It will be constructed using a variety of sharp angled, vertical structures which she says are a reference to pain and upheaval, while the overall softer architectural shape of the structure suggests a place of shelter, sanctuary and refuge.
The new piece of public art will be created and installed at Belgrave Circle, at the gateway to the city’s Golden Mile – as part of a wide-ranging programme of “Uganda 50” commemorations.
It’s intended that the artist will work with the local community to further develop her design over the coming months, giving them an opportunity to shape the final piece.
Anuradha Patel said: “I am delighted to be awarded the Ugandan Asian 50th Anniversary public art commission. It is of great significance to me as an artist and an exceptional opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate, and commemorate an event which has not only shaped my life, but the lives of a whole generation of people in the UK over the past 50 years.
“As a Ugandan Asian, of Gujarati origins, I feel strongly connected to the Asian communities in Leicester with so many shared experiences of migration, displacement, resettlement and assimilation in a new country.
“This commission will provide the platform to address, inform and celebrate the breadth of emotions and achievements of the Ugandan Asian community in Leicester.
“I am thrilled to have this unique opportunity to work in collaboration with the local communities and to help create an artistic vision which will provide a lasting legacy for future generations.”
Funding for the artwork will come from a combination of a planned CrowdFund Leicester campaign and a contribution from the city council.
Leicester deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: “I am delighted to announce that Anuradha’s design will be taken forward to share with the local community, who will have the chance to help to create this new piece of public art which is linked to such an important part of Leicester’s recent past.”
Structural Gateway was chosen from a number of shortlisted designs by a panel which included Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby, Chair of Belgrave Neighbourhood Co-operative Housing Association (BNCHA) Jaimini Bharakhada, and Jo Jones, head of Leicester’s Museums and Arts service.