Award-winning artist announces limited edition painting for The Big Sleuth

Yesterday, Thursday 20 July, Reuben Colley Fine Art Gallery and Harrow Green celebrated their involvement in The Big Sleuth by announcing a limited edition signed print of the original oil painting that the award-winning artist’s 3D ‘Big Sleuth’ sculpture is based on.

At the event, which was held at Reuben Colley Fine Art Gallery on Colmore Row, the gallery announced that a signed limited edition of the original oil painting ‘Xt’ will be available to buy, with 25% donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

Renowned Birmingham artist Reuben Colley designed a bear for ‘The Big Sleuth’ public art trail, organised by Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity in partnership with Wild in Art. Reuben created an original oil painting of the Aston Expressway entitled ‘Xt’, which he then transposed onto the sculpture. At the event, guests were able to see the original oil painting, ‘Xt’, the bear and the limited edition print brought together for the first time.

Reuben grew up in Birmingham within sight of the Aston Expressway and is now celebrated for his gritty Birmingham cityscapes. He describes designing this bear as a nostalgic process for him.

“I chose to paint this landscape on the bear as if the bear was actually there, and the painting is a reflection of its surroundings.

“Areas of scrubland amongst the city always give me a sense of freedom. They demonstrate there is still a part of the city which hasn’t been tamed, a reminder of childhood and a brief return to nature. Yet at the same time the Aston Expressway forms a continuous loop around the bear, never ending and inescapable.”

The bear, which is sponsored by business relocation specialists and The Big Sleuth logistics partner, Harrow Green, is number 48 on The Big Sleuth trail and can be seen at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery over the summer.

Showcasing the artistic and cultural diversity the city has to offer, the family-friendly, free public art trail is the sequel to The Big Hoot, which attracted more than 800,000 visitors in 2015 and raised over £625,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity.

The project intends to inspire residents and tourists alike to get active by walking, jogging, running or cycling The Big Sleuth trail whilst enjoying the artistic talents of local and national artists.

At the end of The Big Sleuth, Xt the bear will be sold at auction along with all the other giant bears. The Big Sleuth’s predecessor, The Big Hoot, raised over £500,000 for the charity at auction, and The Big Sleuth aims to do the same.

Louise McCathie, Director of Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s really special to have such an incredibly talented and renowned artist such as Reuben involved in The Big Sleuth.

“As a friend of the hospital, we are really grateful for Reuben’s continued support throughout this project and for the gallery’s offer to donate a percentage of sales of the limited edition signed print to Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity. Through The Big Sleuth, we hope to raise over half a million pounds which will enable us to continue to support the pioneering work we do here every day, from providing world-class environments to ensuring the best experience for the families and patients in our care.”

For more information about the project, please visit

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