The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square has a new occupant.
Nelson’s ship in the bottle recently unveiled, sits proudly amidst the chaos resulted due to this marvel of a work. Yinka Shonibare is the master behind it and said that it is his version of HMS Victory with its textile sails. The African and batik prints reflect the multicultural and diverse capital. The artist grew up in Nigeria and the scale replica commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar and the 50th anniversary of Nigerian Independence.
The ship in place for 18 months is as high as 2.35 m and is meticulously placed in a specially made glass bottle. Imprints of African culture can be seen in the ships 37 large sails. Shonibare was nominated for Turner’s Prize and views it as the celebration of London’s immense ethnic wealth.
It was described as a “stunning work” by Boris Johnson, Mayor London. And as “topical and compelling artwork”, by the chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group Ekow Eshun.
Truly this ship is an object of wonder and amazement. As a child I often wondered and questioned on how things could fit inside a glass bottle. This enormous piece has further enhanced my bewilderment. How can something so huge fit in that bottle? While me and the likes of me wonder, Shonibare can be proud of his hard work.