A massive sculpture has been unveiled at Birmingham Bullring as part of an awareness campaign to highlight the plight of the homeless this winter.

The sculpture is currently on display outside St Martin in the Bullring until Sunday 11 December.

The hyper real and poignant public work of art showing a homeless person was commissioned by charity Crisis which is running a campaign called “Homelessness Can’t Be Ignored” this winter.

The huge sculpture – which measures 14ft  and weighs 2.5 tonnes – was produced by Sophie de Oliveira Barata who specialises in prosthetic special effects.

Barata said it took 10 weeks to craft the sculpture and special facial mapping technology was used to create the face of the model.

The artist mapped the faces of 17 homeless people to craft the features of the sculptureRangzeb Hussain
The artist mapped the faces of 17 homeless people to craft the features of the sculpture

With people experiencing homelessness being ignored everyday the sculpture, named Alex, stands as a visible testament to the hundreds of thousands experiencing the worst kinds of homelessness, with sleeping on the streets, sofa surfing and living in temporary accommodation becoming more prevalent as the cost of living crisis bites.

The sculpture’s incredibly realistic facial features – brought to life via computer technology and using the profiles of seventeen people facing homelessness who have been supported by Crisis – were created to further reinforce the humanity in people experiencing one of the most brutal forms of homelessness – rough sleeping.

Artist Sophie de Oliveira Barata, said: “I’ve been incredibly privileged to work with Crisis to bring this sculpture to life.

“It’s been a fascinating process harnessing artificial intelligence to create a face that represents homelessness, a problem that all too many of us ignore and struggle to engage with.

“This is the largest sculpture I’ve ever created and I sincerely hope it makes the desired impact and stops everyone in their tracks so they have no choice but to reflect on the issue and hopefully support this wonderful charity.”

The sculpture will be on display until SundayRangzeb Hussain
The sculpture will be on display at the Bullring until Sunday

The sculpture was initially displayed in London at King’s Cross Station where actors Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton (stars of the Netflix series The Crown) – both ambassadors for Crisis – were present when the sculpture was installed.

Staunton spoke about reaching out to the homeless this winter and called for much needed change.

She said: “The intention of this incredibly lifelike sculpture is simple: homelessness cannot be ignored any longer.

“The cost of living crisis and rising rents are exacerbating an incredibly difficult situation and Crisis’ research highlights as many as 300,000 households could be homeless next year, a shocking scenario to be faced with.

“Crisis has always been close to my heart and today I am proud, as an ambassador, to stand shoulder to shoulder with those experiencing homelessness as we look to encourage action.

“As a nation we need to do better and this Christmas, we can all be part of that change.

“This installation stands as a testament and a rallying cry, we cannot sit idly by and watch the situation worsen.”

The campaign hopes major change takes place to address the plight of the homelessRangzeb Hussain
The campaign hopes major change takes place to address the plight of the homeless

Matt Downie, chief executive at Crisis, added: “300,000 households face homeless next year if the UK government doesn’t change its course. It’s that simple.

“As a country, we are going through a difficult time but we can’t ignore the mounting pressure that is building on low income households as they struggle under the weight of price rises they cannot afford.

“We need to remember homelessness is solvable, and can be ended for good through sensible policy changes and a good hearted political agenda.

“Let’s keep reminding Westminster of this, because by standing together this Christmas, we can achieve great things.”

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