The horned animal was selected as it symbolises strength and was originally a symbol of the gay rights movement in the United States, while the use of rhinestones reflects Birmingham’s rich jewellery-making history. The artists commissioned to construct the sculpture are now asking members of the public to contribute towards a ‘heart’ that will live inside the finished article containing music, photos, videos and stories.
Those wishing to contribute are asked to upload their videos, songs and images via Facebook and Birmingham’s LGBT dedicated Rhino online blog, where visitors can also track the construction of the piece, while Twitter users can submit 140-character entries using the hashtag #rhinestonerhino.
Postcards will be distributed among venues throughout Southside’s Gay Village, on which people can also leave their contributions. A series of workshops will run from April 12th-14th where people can meet the artists involved, and put forward their contributions in person.
David Viney, Birmingham LGBT Health and Wellbeing Manager, said: “This is a hugely exciting project that represents the culmination of four years’ work between Birmingham LGBT and the city council to create a truly iconic piece of art that will rival the Bullring’s Bull! I cannot wait to see the finished article installed in the near future.”
Julia Chance, Southside BID Manager, said: “The Gay Village is such a vibrant part of Southside, we were keen to mark out this gateway to the Village with a landmark that would properly celebrate the area’s diversity and importance to the city. This project is a great example of private, public and charitable organisations all collaborating to create something positive for the community”
The project is being delivered in partnership between Birmingham LGBT, Southside BID, GB Training and Birmingham City Council, and it is hoped the rhinoceros will be installed in time for the 2012 Birmingham Pride event that is scheduled to take place over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend in June.