Public art sculpture displayed from 1991 until 2003 in Centenary Square, Birmingham,
The Forward statue was made by Birmingham-born Raymond Mason at Halygon Studios
in Paris, of fibreglass
construction with cream, pink and red paint finish. It depicted famous and significant
brummies including Joseph Chamberlain and the founder of the University of Birmingham,
Josiah Mason amongst a crowd of people striving forward, from images of Birmingham's
harsh industrial past. Centenary Square lies along Broad Street, and the statue faced the
entrance of the International Convention Centre.
Media reports as to the price paid for Forward vary from £200,000 to £500,000. It had
from the outset a mixed reaction from the brummie in the street, who isn't exactly
renowned for embracing contemporary art. Some complained that it looked like a
Communist "success through work" type statue; others that it was just too artsy
The Forward statue was burned down by an unnamed individual on April 17 2003. Right
now there is nothing but an empty pedestal where it once stood.
I liked Forward. It was a rare positive, aspirational statement about Birmingham really
going somewhere. I was truly gutted when I saw what happened to it.