Rhinestone Rhino puts the bling back into Birmingham

A mirror covered and jewelled rhino statue is putting UK city's gay quarter on the map

Rhinestone Rhino puts the bling back into Birmingham
07 June 2012

It may have divided opinion, but Birmingham’s major new piece of public art in the heart of the UK city’s gay village is just the right side of disco fabulous to get the GSN thumbs up.

Adorned with mirror-work and replica gemstones, the so-called Rhinestone Rhino glimmers rain or shine on a rooftop above the entrance to the city’s thriving scene.

Costing over £15,000 and four years in the making, the lifesize sculpture is a nod to the American gay rights movement where the rhinoceros was used as a symbol during the 1970s.

Unveiled during Birmingham’s gay pride celebrations last weekend, the bling beast is a joint collaboration between the city council, the Birmingham lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, GB Training Ltd and the Southside Business Improvement District (BID).

The organizers of the project hope the artwork will become an iconic landmark and help promote Birmingham as a ‘gay destination’ to rival as  Manchester and Brighton.

Julia Chance, Southside BID manager, said: ‘The Rhino looks fantastic and it was really exciting to launch it after all the hard work that has gone into the project over the last four years.

‘Gay villages like ours are important contributors to Britain’s local economies and this is why it is worth investing in them with projects like our Rhino.

‘It’s a fantastic example of public, private and charitable organisations working together to create something positive for the community.’

To see photos of the rhino’s development, from birth to its final home, click here.

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