The W A Cadbury Trust provided a grant of £10,000 in 2014 towards a large scale public art project entitled Minimum Monument.
The intervention was delivered by Brazilian artist Néle Azevedo in conjunction with a team of Birmingham Hippodrome volunteers. The installation in Chamberlain Square saw over 5,000 ice figures presented as part of the City’s commemoration of the centenary of the start of World War One.
The event was a significant success attracting estimated live audiences of over 4,000 with extensive national and international press coverage. Néle’s work deliberately celebrates the common man, and this piece honored not only those who fought in World War One, but also the families of those whose loved ones were sacrificed. In her own words:
“The Minimum Monument project is a critical reading of the monument in the contemporary cities. Thousands of small sculptures of ice are placed in public space. The memory is inscribed in the photographic image and shared by everyone. It is no longer reserved to great heroes nor to great monuments. It loses its static condition to gain fluidity in the urban displacement and in the change of state of the water. It concentrates small sculptures of small men, the common men.”
During the event and online the public response to the exhibition was exceptionally positive and for many, an emotional experience. Messages left by the public on the day were moving and full of gratitude:
“A deeply thought-provoking piece of art – not only for the artist but for those involved in making this happen – us! A huge thank you for coming to Birmingham and allowing us to be part of this – never forget.” M.Wakefield
“Helped me to remember.” J. Hoyland, aged 7