A Birmingham artist promises to celebrate the city’s most iconic landmarks when he produces his artwork for The Big Sleuth, the free public art event taking place this summer in aid of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.
Slobodan Topalovic, known as Bobby, will transform his sun bear sculpture into Brummie Bear, which will include a number of Birmingham’s architectural gems such as Selfridges Birmingham, the Rotunda and St Martin’s Church, for the charity event.
The Big Sleuth – the follow-up to The Big Hoot, which saw 85 colourful giant owls on display across Birmingham in 2015 – is a free 10-week art trail presented by public art specialists Wild in Art in partnership with Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. The bears are expected to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the charity at auction.
32-year-old Bobby has been commissioned by luxury department store Selfridges Birmingham to create an eye-catching design.
The artist, who is undertaking a PhD at Coventry University in Coach Design and Road Safety and has a Master’s degree in transport design, has a keen interest in visual identity, architecture and design research. It’s why his design features road and rail networks, as well as landmark buildings in the city.
He said:“I got together with Selfridges because the design I submitted initially included an overview of different architectural themes of Birmingham city centre, and this included the Selfridges ‘silver discs’ that cover the façade of the store. Selfridges saw the design and felt that this fitted in with its brand.
“I was absolutely thrilled to have been chosen, especially because my sun bear will be a tribute to Birmingham’s architecture, celebrating the most visually arresting and instantly identifiable parts of Birmingham’s visual identity.”
The artist, who lives in South Birmingham and whose brother Milan will also be producing an artwork for the Big Sleuth, added: “I love the fact I have had the opportunity to paint some of my favourite buildings on the bear and that my favourite building, Selfridges, features so heavily on the design. I’m also really keen to help raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity and this is a really fun way to do it. I made a point of really putting extra effort into the design as hopefully this will make people dig deeper into their pockets at the final auction and raise as much for the hospital as possible.”
Sam Watts, General Manager at Selfridges Birmingham, said: “We’re really pleased to be supporting The Big Sleuth this year and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. We can hardly wait to see what Bobby produces because the preliminary drawings look amazing in their own right. We’re looking forward to unveiling it when the trail opens in July and playing our part in raising thousands of pounds for a brilliant cause.”
The Big Sleuth is a free 10-week public art trail that launches on July 10 and will see up to 100 165cm tall sculptures of sun bears, the world’s smallest species of bear that are threatened with extinction, located across Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Sandwell and at Resorts World.