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  1. ITV Report

Malala is 'a proud Brummie' as new portrait unveiled in Birmingham

Malala Yousafzai with artist Nasser Azam at the unveiling of a new portrait entitled Malala, at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham Credit: Alex Britton/PA Wire

Girls' education campaigner Malala Yousafzai has said she is "proud" to be called a Brummie as a new portrait of her was unveiled in her adopted home city.

Ms Yousafzai, herself still at school, narrowly avoided death in 2012 when she was 15 after being shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban for her outspoken campaigning for girls' rights to education.

She was treated at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital and made the city her home after the gun attack in Pakistan's Swat Valley. She went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

The portrait, entitled Malala, was completed by fellow Pakistani Nasser Azam and will be displayed in Birmingham's Central Library.

Malala with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, as she officially opened the Library of Birmingham in the city centre Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Speaking at the unveiling on Sunday evening at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Malala said she was "very grateful" for the support that she received in Birmingham.

I came here three years ago, when I was brought here for treatment and when I looked out of the window in the hospital I was just looking for mountains and rivers and nice scenery. This is what I used to see every day in Swat Valley. There was nothing. There was houses, doors and cars, but later on I realised there's a lot in this city. In terms of buildings you may not see a lot, but in terms of people, their love, their hearts, their passion, there's a lot of things. Other than the cold weather I love this place, I am proud to be called a Brummie.

– Malala Yousafzai

She also paid tribute to the artist behind her new portrait, saying "It's more than a painting to me, it's the support that Mr Azam gives to the education campaign that I stand for and that's why it means a lot to me. I am hopeful that we will achieve our goal, we will make sure every child goes to school."

The oil painting took Mr Azam nearly a year to produce at his studio in London.

He said: "She has an aura about her, it's angelic, I guess. Certainly it changed the way I wanted to interpret and depict the portrait after meeting her. There were high expectations, but the good thing was she is a humble person, very welcoming, intellectual, very educated."