A Real Birmingham Family is Ikon’s four year project with Birmingham-born, Turner Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing: a quest to find a ‘real’ Birmingham family and immortalise it in bronze. The sculpture now stands in Centenary Square outside the Library of Birmingham.
Ikon started the project at the Pallasades Shopping Centre in April 2011, and toured to many different locations within the city over the next year. A Real Birmingham Family 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.
From the many hundreds of self-nominated families, a shortlist of four was 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. These families were the core of an exhibition presented in the BBC Birmingham Public Space at The Mailbox during summer 2013. In short films the families talk about being from and living in Birmingham, and their identity as a family.