Trafalgar Square has 4 plinths and 3 of them have had a major work of art on it for the longest time. The 4th has been left empty but it is now used to showcase various works of art.
The latest one is a Ship in Bottle.
The ship is a replica of Nelson’s ship Victory made by artist Yinka Shonibare.
According to the Guardian ” It has, like the original, 37 sails, with 31 set as on the battle day for a light wind. It carries 80 cannons, on deck and almost invisible below deck, and the materials are traditional oak and hardwood, brass, twine and canvas.
The flags include the signal “engage the enemy closely”, which on the day replaced the famous eve of battle “England expects”, and the white ensign showing the navy’s high commander is on board. The sails look like Shonibare’s trademark African cottons, woven in England and printed with African patterns for export, which he buys in Brixton market and has used repeatedly to subvert iconic pieces of western art. They are actually made of traditional sail canvas, hand-sewn, and hand printed in batik designs by the artist.”
Last year, the 4th plinth was a platform for performance artist Anthony Gormley’s One and Other Installation. This was a parade of ordinary people who each had a chance to take to the 4th plinth to speak, perform or use the platform for their own cause.