Design revealed for new artwork commemorating the city’s Ugandan Asians

Posted on Wednesday August 3rd 2022

THE winning submission for a new work of public art commemorating the 50e anniversary of the arrival of the Ugandan Asians in Leicester has been revealed.

Titled Sculptural Gateway, the piece is the work of Midlands artist Anuradha Patel. In her submission, Ms Patel says the two aspects of the structural walkway represent the two communities affected by the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972. The structure is connected at the top, symbolizing the transition of a generation of people from one country to another. .

It will be built using a variety of sharp-edged vertical structures which she says refer to pain and upheaval, while the softer overall architectural form of the structure suggests a place of shelter, sanctuary and refuge. .

The new public artwork will be created and installed in Belgrave Circle, at the entrance to the city’s Golden Mile – as part of an extensive program of ‘Uganda 50’ commemorations.

The artist is expected to work with the local community to further develop their design over the coming months, giving them the opportunity to shape the final piece.

Anuradha Patel said, “I am delighted to have received the Uganda Public Art Commission for the 50th anniversary of Asia. It is of great significance to me as an artist and an exceptional opportunity to recognise, celebrate and commemorate an event which not only shaped my life, but the lives of a whole generation of people in the UK over the of the past 50 years.

“As a Ugandan Asian of Gujarati descent, I feel strongly connected to the Asian communities of Leicester with so many shared experiences of migration, displacement, resettlement and assimilation into a new country.

“This commission will provide the platform to address, inform and celebrate the magnitude of the emotions and achievements of the Ugandan Asian community in Leicester.

“I am thrilled to have this unique opportunity to work collaboratively with local communities and help create an artistic vision that will leave 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.

The City of Leicester’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, added: “I am delighted to announce that Anuradha’s design will be brought forward to be shared with the local community, who will have the chance to help create this new piece. of public art that 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 consisting of Mayor of Leicester Peter Soulsby, Belgrave Neighborhood Co-operative Housing Association (BNCHA) Chairman Jaimini Bharakhada, and Jo Jones, Head of Services Leicester Museums and Arts.

Local people will have the opportunity to meet Anuradha and discuss their memories with her at two events organized by BNCHA this month.

A fun summer event will take place on Sunday, August 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and a meet and greet with the artists will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, August 22. Both events take place at the marquee in the Canterbury House car park at 63A Melton Rd.

The artwork is part of a series of events and activities taking place in Leicester in 2022 to commemorate this historic anniversary.

The Leicester Museum and Art Gallery is organizing an exhibition Uganda 50 – Rebuilding Lives – in conjunction with community arts group Navrang, as a centerpiece of the commemorations.

The project brings to life the extraordinary experiences of an entire community of people who were given only 90 days to leave Uganda, and the stories of those displaced people who have settled in the UK and Leicester.

The Leicester exhibition has also received a £10,000 contribution from Leicester City Council’s Museums and Galleries Department. It is open until October.

Curve Theater is also hosting a community production this summer about the Ugandan Asian exodus, their journeys to Leicester and their contributions to the city over the past five decades.

The production – titled Finding Home – Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50 – runs until August 6 and features three new short plays by local writers whose families have arrived in the UK from Uganda.


Photo caption: Artist Anuradha Patel with a model of her winning submission, ‘Structural Gateway’. The final design will be developed with the help of the local Ugandan Asian community.