Shortlist announced for the fourth plinth commission in Trafalgar Square

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The shortlist for the fourth plinth sculpture in London‘s Trafalgar Square has been announced, which will see one artist’s project showcased in the flagship spot for the next two-year slot.

For two years since 1999, various art pieces have stood in pride of place in the highly sought-after spot in the busy Westminster location, each time with the winners handpicked from a shortlist.

Seven new artworks have made the shortlist for the 2026 and 2028 slots, with two winners set to be announced in March, 2024.

This year, shortlisted projects include an ice cream van representing a father’s voyage to the UK from India, alongside a black cat symbolising women empowerment, a giant bronze head, a huge sweet potato showcasing diversity in the square, and a majestic lady in blue paying homage to women of colour.

Funded by the Mayor of London, with backing from Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the competition remains a collaborative effort, with this year marking 25 years since the first artwork graced the plinth.

Currently, the platform showcases Antelope by Samson Kambalu, a bronze resin sculpture portraying a photograph of Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe alongside European missionary John Chorley, captured in 1914 in Nyasayland (now Malawi).

City Hall’s Justine Simons said in a statement: “The fourth plinth is renowned across the globe for bringing world-class contemporary art to the heart of London. I’m delighted that our shortlisted artists have provided such thought provoking pieces. For 25 years the sculptures on the fourth plinth have sparked interest and debate – bringing out the art critic in everybody.”

Meanwhile, Gabriele Finaldi, from the National Gallery, said the successful fourth plinth commissions should “encourage the public to look at and become interested in art, whether it’s the great pictures in our museums or new art in public spaces, and I would encourage the public to have their say on these exciting proposals.”

The next sculpture, Improntas by Teresa Margolles, will feature plaster casts bearing the faces of numerous transgender individuals. This is set to be unveiled in September, 2024.

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