Birmingham today revealed its latest public art piece: a life-sized ‘Rhinestone Rhino’ in the centre of its gay village.
Commissioned to celebrate the area’s gay community, the construction has been embedded with a ‘heart’, containing music, photos, videos and stories donated by the local LGBT community.
Looking like something Paris Hilton might keep in her menagerie, the sculpture has been a joint collaboration between Birmingham City Council, Birmingham LGBT, GB Training Ltd and Southside Business Improvement District, and is hoped to replicate the reputation of the city’s bronzed bull and become a tourist attraction.
‘The purple rhino was originally a symbol of the gay rights movement in Boston,’ says David Viney, Health and Wellbeing Manager, Birmingham LGBT, which jointly commissioned the piece. ‘Society is far more open now but there are still challenges around homophobia and respect. We chose the Rhino as it’s bold, fun and will be a memorable gateway to the gay village. We hope it will become a symbol of strength and unity.’
‘The local council has really embraced the gay community, its investing in and welcoming us. We may be the second city, but we’re not second best. There’s great nights out and a lot of culture; It’s an undiscovered gay city.’
The installation has been unveiled on the eve of Birmingham Pride, which is taking place across the Jubilee weekend, featuring performances from Kerry Katona, Sonia
and The Saturdays.
‘The parade is the highlight. Birmingham LGBT’s will be a safari-themed float with a massive life-size rhino.’
The ‘Rhinestone Rhino’ is located on the junction of Hurst Street and Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham. Tickets for Birmingham Pride are available from www.birminghampride.com