Sikh statue to keep memory of soldiers alive being created for Wednesfield

The memory of Sikh soldiers who fought to the last man will be marked by a special statue in Wednesfield.

Artist Luke Perry has begun work on a new statue destined for Wednesfield
Artist Luke Perry has begun work on a new statue destined for Wednesfield

The 10ft statue has been commissioned by the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Wednesfield to commemorate the battle of Saragarhi, a battle in 1897 which saw 21 Sikh soldiers defend the outpost in northern India.

In a recent resources cabinet meeting Wolverhampton councillors unanimously voted in favour of leasing the land near Wednesfield Library to the Gudwara for the statue to be put up.

The 36th Sikh Regiment were surrounded by thousands of Afghan tribesman and chose to fight to the death to defend their post in what is considered by military historians to be one of the greatest last stands in history.

Sandwell-based sculptor Luke Perry was asked to create the sculpture, having previously created the Lions of the Great War memorial which stands at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick.

Mr Perry said he was honoured to be asked to create such a significant piece of work and spoke of how he felt about representing the Sikh faith through his work.

He said: “I’ve been involved in a couple of Sikh pieces and I really am an advocate for an equal representation of all cultures.

“What seems to be happening now is that the Sikh community is working harder to get themselves represented through monuments like this.

“I’ve been very lucky to work with the Gurdwaras as they’ve got a fantastic community behind them and I feel proud to have produced the works.”

How the statue looked was agreed with the Gurdwara after stuntman Richard Hall posed in traditional costume with a sword.

Mr Perry said the process, which involved clay, wax and bronze, took a long time, but said he hoped the final piece would be a fitting tribute to the regiment. He said: “I feel like it’s a fitting language of Sikh art.

“I think that this is something which is really long overdue.”

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