Monument to Saragarhi
Monument to Saragarhi
16 foot Bronze cast, Steel Landscape plate and Granite Plinth.
Unveiling the 12th September 2021
The Battle of Saragarhi is one of the most significant moments in the history of Sikh culture yet it has never been celebrated in Sculpture despite there being films, television series, and countless books and articles on the subject.
The battle was fought when 21 Sikh Soldiers and one Muslim Non-Combatant held off 10,000 Afghan Tribesmen in the fort of Saragarhi on the 12th September 1897 and is considered as significant as the last stands at Thermopylae or Rourkes Drift.
This piece has already reached international fame with media attention internationally and reaching the front page of the Times of India even at this stage in its construction. Commissioned by the Gurdwara in Wednesfield it has been the lifetime ambition of Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal.
"With the monument to Saragarhi I’m currently working on what could be the best artwork that I have ever made, it is (in this country) a forgotten part of British/ Sikh/ Empire history. At a time when the UK were denying the native people of India their independence from our rule, they were fighting and dying in heroic battles such as Saragarhi for Britain and continued to do so in South Asia and larger theatres of conflict such as the First and Second World War for another 50 years. This monument has already achieved International press being on the front page of the Times of India as the battle is incredibly significant to the Sikh culture and should certainly be of greater visibility in British History, this artwork will be a part of that education. In addition, it is part of the International wave of new artworks and recognition of the importance of less represented people. Under-representation of non-white people has been a negative part of the visual history as has the under-representation of working people, I'm so proud to be a useful part of the positive movement against that.
Each commission that I create is inspired by the people whom I work with. My inspiration usually comes from the enthusiasm of the brilliant people whom the work is about or those who have drawn my attention to it through their own passion, this is so evident with the community of the Gurdwara and in particular individuals such as Bhupinder Gakhal who's literal dream is in my hands with this artwork, I never forget that responsibility.
With artworks like Saragarhi I want to create sculptures that are a visible marker of the under-represented but vital, real people in our communities because when you represent people you empower them. That power gives people the confidence to make positive change. When you build a monument you make a statement that has its literal foundations in the bedrock of our nation, these statements are real and permanent"
Luke Perry - Sculptor