Ugandan Asian anniversary artwork to be installed in Leicester

A new public artwork commemorating the 50th anniversary of fleeing Ugandan Asians arriving in Leicester will be installed later this summer.

More than 27,000 Asians were abruptly expelled by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1972 and thousands settled in the city.

Artists were invited to submit designs for the artwork last year, and sculptor Anuradha Patel was selected.

She is herself a Ugandan Asian of Gujarati origin.

‘Excited and nervous’

“I feel enormously privileged to have been awarded the Ugandan Asian 50th anniversary commission,” she said.

“Not only is it so relevant to my own history and experience, but it has brought me closer to the communities in Leicester with whom I share so many of the same or similar experiences of upheaval and resettlement.

“Now that we are approaching completion, I am both excited and nervous. It has been a lengthy process over the past year to realise the artwork.”

The sculpture, entitled Structural Gateway, is due to be installed on Belgrave Roundabout later this summer, and will form an archway welcoming visitors to Belgrave.

Planning permission was granted earlier this year, and groundworks are beginning on site ahead of the planned installation work.

The project is costing about £200,000 in total.

Adam Clarke, Leicester’s deputy city mayor for climate, economy and culture, said: “The story of Leicester’s Ugandan Asians isn’t something from the distant past – it is well within the living memory of so many people in the city and has profoundly shaped our communities and our culture over the last half a century.

“The resilience shown by people 50 years ago when faced with upheaval, desperation and danger is sadly still just as relevant today, and this artwork is chance to reflect upon that as well as celebrating the rich diversity brought by the city’s Ugandan Asian community.”

Ugandan Asians arriving in the UK

Thousands of Ugandan Asians arrived in the UK in 1972

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