The sculpting of a statue of a First World War Sikh soldier has entered an exciting stage, as work begins to cast the landmark monument in bronze.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick has commissioned the Lions of the Great War monument to honour the sacrifices made by South Asian service personnel of all faiths who fought for Britain in the war and other conflicts.
Millions of men from the Indian subcontinent fought in the two world wars, serving in the British Indian Army.
The 10-foot high statue is set to be unveiled in Smethwick High Street in November to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Black Country-based sculptor Luke Perry, who is creating the statue, said: “The pouring of the bronze and the reveal of the metal after the shell has been broken off is one of the most impressive parts of creating sculpture.
“There’s liquid bronze being poured into red hot shells and everything has to be done in seconds while the work is hot so there’s little room for error.
“It’s a really visual part of the process – it looks as dangerous and filled with jeopardy and alchemy as it is!”
The Lions of the Great War statue will be sited between High Street and Tollhouse Way, and Sandwell Council is working with the gurdwara to create a paved public space with seating and lighting.
An adjoining green space, which includes a memorial celebrating inventor James Watt, who pioneered steam power in Smethwick, is also being refurbished with new landscaping to complement the statue and public space.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick is covering the cost of designing and building the statue.
President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick Jatinder Singh said: “It’s fascinating to see how the statue is taking shape. We are very proud to be bringing this memorial to Smethwick High Street to honour the sacrifice of all those brave men who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn’t their own.”
Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Steve Eling said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing the completed statue. It’s so important we remember the sacrifices made by people for our country.”