The Fourth Plinth is in the north-west of Trafalgar Square, in central London. Built in 1841, it was originally intended for an equestrian statue but was empty for many years. It is now the location for specially commissioned artworks.
'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' by Yinka Shonibare MBE will follow Antony Gormley's One & Other on the Fourth Plinth.
Yinka Shonibare proposes to make a scale replica of Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory, in a giant glass bottle. The ship’s magnificent sails will be produced in richly coloured and patterned textiles, which Shonibare buys from Brixton market in London. They are assumed to be African but in fact the fabric was inspired by Indonesian batik design, mass produced by the Dutch and sold to the colonies in West Africa. By the 1960s the material was popularly assimilated in Africa and became symbolic of African identity and independence. Shonibare says his piece will reflect the story of multiculturalism in London today, which began as a result of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar: ‘For me it’s a celebration of London’s immense ethnic wealth, giving expression to and honouring the many cultures and ethnicities that are still breathing precious wind into the sails of the UK.’