Black History Month – Inside ‘The World’s Best Micro-Art Exhibition’ in Birmingham by an Artist Who Has Been Told ‘You’ll Never Make It’
An artist born in the Black Country has spoken of his pride in having organized the “best micro-art exhibition in the world” in his hometown of Birmingham.
Twenty-five micro-sculptures by Dr Willard Wigan MBE have been on permanent display at the Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery.
Some of the microsculptures that make up Willard’s World Of Wonder exhibit include world boxing champion Tyson Fury, saxophonist Charlie Parker, a motorcycle in a hair and 14 camels in the eye of a needle.
READ MORE:Tyson Fury recreated in microscopic form by Wolverhampton artist Willard Wigan
Dr Wigan can spend up to eighteen hours a day on his works, sculpting between heartbeats and using microscopic tools like eyelashes to paint.
He told Black Country Live: “My job needed a permanent home.
“I have one in America, but because I live in Birmingham, I thought it would be nice to bring it to this gallery because it’s a beautiful place.
“I am proud to have this exhibition here.
“The world’s best micro-art exhibit is here at the Birmingham Contemporary Art Gallery.”
At school growing up in Wolverhampton, Dr Wigan says teachers told him “you will never be successful” because he was “slower to learn than other children” due to his undiagnosed autism.
“I had this learning difference, so I was singled out a lot by teachers and taken across the school as an example of failure,” he said.
“It traumatized me a bit.”
But he’s proud of who he is and says he wouldn’t be a world-famous artist without his autism.
Dr Wigan, who received his honorary doctorate from the University of Warwick, hopes his work can inspire others.
He also spoke about his Caribbean heritage and his pride in representing the community as Black History Month unfolds in October.
Born to Jamaican parents, Dr Wigan said: “My job belongs to everyone.
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“And it’s good that people understand what the Caribbean community has contributed to the UK, and I think people should know that, working in hospitals, jobs that most people wouldn’t do, working in hospitals. trains, buses, helping to build the country after the war.
“And I helped with that. I became the greatest micro-artist of all time. I was born in the UK, in the West Midlands.
“I bought this exhibit here, so I did my part, so it’s an inspiration to everyone.
“I believe in diversity, we are all human beings, that’s what we are.”
He was recognized by Guinness World Records as the artist sculptor of the world’s smallest hand-crafted works of art.
But creating such small pieces takes a lot of time and patience.
Dr Wigan, who received his MBE title for his service to art, said: “Once I create this work of art, I don’t like looking at it anymore because it causes me so much pain. and stress.
“I have sleepless nights working 16 hours a day, 17, 18 and even more.
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“Sometimes I work six to seven songs at a time, check my heart rate, and work between beats.
“I’m going to make all kinds of microscopic tools and paint with my eyelashes.
“Sometimes I forgot to eat, so all of those things are part of my trip, the stress to make it work.
“What gives me satisfaction is the reaction when people see it.”
His very first micro sculpture which has survived from childhood is also on display, representing an anthill.
Meanwhile, one of his favorite pieces is Tyson Fury’s, which inspired him.
He added: “Maybe I could Tyson Fury when he emerged and I knew he was going to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
“When I first met Tyson Fury, it was amazing to meet such a gentle giant.
“He was knocked out by sanity and came back. He was knocked down by Wilder and got up.
“Every time in life we’ve been hit, we come back.
“And Tyson is a great inspiration and everyone else to see what he was able to do.”
He is currently working on a piece for the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The exhibition costs £ 10 to enter, while the gallery itself is free.