ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.

Bookmark and Share

Four families have been shortlisted for Gillian Wearing's 'A Real Birmingham Family'

Date uploaded: August 7, 2013

Over 370 families have nominated themselves as potential models for Gillian Wearing’s A Real Birmingham Family, a life-size bronze statue to be set within Centenary Square, near the new Library of Birmingham, from 2014.

Ikon started the three year project at the Pallasades Shopping Centre in April 2011, and toured the project to many different locations within the city over the next year. The project draws attention to the unsung, raising questions about civic identity and what it means to be a family today. No limits were placed on how the twenty-first century family might define itself. Gillian Wearing explained: "The project draws attention to the unsung and everyday, raising questions about civic identity and what constitutes a family today."

From the 372 self-nominated families, a shortlist of four has now been chosen by a diverse panel of community, cultural and religious figures. Each family is distinct, from an extended family of neighbours to single parents, representing a diverse range of social and cultural backgrounds. Pictures and short videos about the four families remaining in the contest are being showcased in a free exhibition in the BBC's Public Space at The Mailbox, which runs from 5th August until 8th September. Through self-styled vox pops and radio interviews with BBC Radio WM presenter Caroline Martin, the families talk about being from and living in Birmingham and their identity as a family.

The four shortlisted families are:

  1. The Clarke family: Mother Michelle is half Indian and stepfather Kevin is Irish. They have three daughters, Leanne, Billie and Kerry. Kerry has one son and is expecting a second child.
  2. The Hay and Wooldridge family: Rachel and her partner, Richard Hay, have a daughter, Kaeliea Hay.
  3. The Hancox and Treadwell family: Tonya and her husband, Craig Hancox, have three children, Nethaniel, Anna-Zara and Emily. Nichala Treadwell and her husband, Mark, also have three children, Benjamin, Chloe and Callum.
  4. The Jones family: Roma lives with her son, Kyan Ishaan Jones. The family also includes Roma's sister, Emma, and her son, Shaye Jones-Amin.

The judging panel consists of:

  • Stacey Barnfield, editor, Birmingham Post
  • Brian Gambles, chief executive, Library of Birmingham Development Trust
  • Jonathan Gurling, secretary, Birmingham Inter-Faith Forum
  • Ian Taylor, former player and club ambassador, Aston Villa Football Club
  • Jonathan Watkins, Ikon Gallery director
  • Gillian Wearing, artist
  • Liz Yardley, Professor, School of Sociology, Birmingham City University
  • Poppy Weldon from the Ikon Youth Programme
  • Micaela Boas, Outset UK

The panel will select one family to be the subject for the new public sculpture, and the identity of the winning family will be announced on 27th August before the end of the exhibition. The panel will make its decision based on each member's subjective views of what constitutes a family, according to the Ikon Gallery which is producing the project. They will look at factors including the number of generations in the family unit, friendships, diversity, and their to links to Birmingham.

Support A Real Birmingham Family
Ikon need your help to raise £100,000 to fund the sculpture of the chosen family. For a limited period, from now, every donation received will be doubled through the Arts Council England Catalyst Scheme. For example, this means a donation of £5 from you will be worth £10 to Ikon. Click here for more information and to make a donation.

A Real Birmingham Family is supported by Birmingham City Council and BBC.

Click here for more information.

Gillian Wearing. Family Monument Trento, 2008 Bronze Sculpture

Gillian Wearing. Family Monument Trento, 2008 Bronze Sculpture