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Selfridges Birmingham transformed with world's largest canvas wrap

Gaelle Walker
26 July 2021

Selfridges’ Birmingham store has been enveloped in the world’s largest canvas as part of a monumental public art commission by Osman Yousefzada.

The iconic building, famous for its bulbous shape and large silver disks, has been entirely covered by the multi-disciplinary artist’s black and pink patterned design, which stretches over 10,000 sq meters.

At nearly 50 meters high and weighing five tons, the new art installation, co-commissioned with local art gallery Ikon, has dramatically changed the Birmingham skyline.

‘Named ‘Infinity Pattern 1’ the installation has been designed to address “the issues of race, labour and migration,” which have shaped Birmingham’s past and present.

For Birmingham-born Yousefzada, who is the son of Pakistani-Afghan migrants, the work also contains some autobiographical elements.

The major public artwork will remain in its completed state until the end of the year.

It will then be progressively dismantled in 2022, when major ongoing renovation works to the store are due to end.

The commission is complemented by an in-store art exhibition, shop and art trail, all co-designed with Ikon, as part of an ongoing creative relationship between the gallery and the store.

The exhibition shop showcases an exclusive collection including tote bags, blankets and vegan leather accessories all featuring the Infinity Pattern 1 design, alongside a curated selection of products celebrating the city of Birmingham.

Yousefzada said: “The work is entrenched in autoethnographic elements of migration, community formation and how they happen, interact and settle. “The work reflects my personal story and more widely my ethnic history and some of the symbolisms inherent to my culture.”

Selfridges Creative Director, Hannah Emslie said: “Selfridges is celebrating the communities of Birmingham through a unique art commission that represents both optimism and transformation.

"This new work by Osman Yousefzada is uplifting but also meaningful and deeply connected to the fabric and culture of the city.

“By changing the skyline - at a time when the city itself is changing - we hope to make the world brighter through creative expression, and the people of Birmingham even prouder of their iconic city.”

Selfridges in Birmingham’s Bullring is currently undergoing major renovation work to replace the building’s facade and install a new layer of energy-efficient insulation.

Once this has taken place, the building will be re-painted in the original Yves Klein Blue before the silver disks are re-attached.

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