Digbeth mural celebrates key workers' contribution to fight against coronavirus

Key workers and frontline staff are being celebrated in a new, eye-catching street mural in Digbeth created by Visual Communication alumnus and renowned graffiti artist Josh Billingham, aka Gent 48.

The artwork, entitled Forward in Unity, pays tribute to Birmingham’s collective spirit in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was revealed to the public last week and is located on Meriden Street in Digbeth.

The artwork is the brainchild of Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship Paul Cadman and Landscape Architecture alumnus and co-founder of Melting Pot Birmingham Nathaniel Hanna. The pair came together to create charitable collective Art for Charity, and have worked with Gent 48 to produce the impressive artwork.

Forward in Unity depicts the city’s professionals and key workers coming together to battle the virus, and pays homage to those working on the city’s frontline to keep Birmingham residents safe and ensure that life goes on as usual.

One of the nurses depicted displays the BCU logo (pictured above) as she enters the fray. The city’s iconic skyline can also be seen, featuring the Rotunda and St Martins-in-the-Bullring as well as the iconic Birmingham bull and the flag of Birmingham.

The original design and print copies will be auctioned off to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s Charity. The piece is intended as the first of many that will continue to bring Brummies together and raise vital funds.

Professor Paul Cadman said: “Our ambition was to celebrate the fantastic response of those on the front line and in key positions across Birmingham and we achieved this thanks to the world-renowned skills of Gent 48. The project has since evolved into a key fundraising initiative for the city, ensuring that we’re fully prepared for the ‘new normal’.

Nathaniel Hanna said: “We want to harness the creative potential across Birmingham to create a landmark moment for the city. We want to celebrate the spirit of Birmingham communities while paying homage to the efforts of those on the front lines at hospitals, care homes, education establishments and everywhere else across the city.

“Our aim is the creation of an artistic piece that the entire city can be proud of, then utilising its qualities as a fundraising tool to give people across Birmingham the opportunity to contribute to our ideology that the city will emerge from this crisis stronger than when it entered.”

Watch a video of the artwork being created here. Donations to Art4Charity can be made here.