Calls have been made for statue of the Queen to be installed on the fourth plinthBut the Mayor has said it would continue to be used for temporary installationsAN Wilson blasted Mr Khan, saying statue would be better than 'usual eyesores'
Sadiq Khan was today branded ‘mean spirited’ and a ‘disgrace’ for snubbing a statue of the Queen on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth in favour of an anti-colonialist hero and a group of transgender sex workers.
Calls have been made in recent days for the plot, currently used for a different monument every two years, to have a permanent statue of Queen Elizabeth II. However, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the plinth would continue to be used for temporary installations, as it has since 1999.
The author AN Wilson blasted Mr Khan today, telling Times Radio that an equestrian statue of the Queen ‘would look really good unlike the succession of absolute rubbish that we’ve seen stuck on that plinth over the years’.
He added: ‘We could have a statue that 99 per cent of the population would like to see – the Queen on a horse – which would fit in with the other statues in Trafalgar Square rather than looking like an eyesore.
‘So I think it’s mean spirited of the Mayor of London to intervene… he knows he’s going against the will of the great majority of decent people regardless of their political views.’
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the plinth would be used for temporary exhibitions ‘for the foreseeable future’
The latest addition to the fourth plinth, Antelope, was unveiled at Trafalgar Square yesterday
Calls had been made for a statue of Queen Elizbeth II to be erected in Trafalgar Square. Pictured: A Statue of the Queen in Gravesend, Kent
Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, called the decision a ‘disgrace’, while former UKIP leader Henry Bolton called for the Labour politician to be ‘overruled by an Act of Parliament’.
The latest occupant of the Trafalgar Square corner was unveiled yesterday – a statue of anti-colonialist John Chilembwe by artist Samson Kambalu entitled Antelope.
It restages a photograph from 1914 at the opening of Chilembwe’s new church in Nyasaland – now Malawi – in which the preacher has his hat on next to missionary John Chorley, defying the colonial rule that forbade Africans from wearing hats in front of white people.
Chilembwe led a revolt against the British in 1915 and was killed shortly after. His church, which had taken years to build, was destroyed by colonial police.
The fourth plinth will also be home to the casts of 850 transgender sex workers, which the artist expects will disintegrate in the rain. Teresa Margolles’ artwork ‘850 Improntas’ will appear alongside Kambalu’s sculpture after they saw off competition from four other artists.
Kambalu, an associate professor of fine art at the University of Oxford, said he was ‘glad’ he could carry forth Chilembwe’s message of fighting for a better world, adding: ‘Many people may not know who John Chilembwe is. And that is the whole point.’
The artist said: ‘Before the uprising he made a photograph with his friend, they were simply standing side by side wearing hats, and he distributed this photograph amongst his followers as a political stance to say ‘We are equal to white people so I can wear a hat in front of a white person. Of course, he was killed months later, but his message lived on.’
Kambalu added that the title of Antelope alludes to the mask culture of the Chewa people, who reside in Malawi, and is a symbol of generosity.
A larger-than-life sculpture of an anticolonial hero by artist Samson Kambalu (pictured) is the latest work of art unveiled on Trafalgar Square’s famous fourth plinth
On the plinth, John Chilembwe is larger than life, while missionary John Chorley is life-size
Nile Gardiner, a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, called the decision a ‘disgrace’, while former UKIP leader Henry Bolton called for the Labour politician to be ‘overruled by an Act of Parliament’
‘So he’s not only proposing equality and injustice, but he’s also proposing actually a radical economy right in the middle of the Empire,’ he added.
Kambalu, 47, is a Malawi-born artist who is also a Fellow of Magdelen College at Oxford University and an associate professor at the Ruskin School of Art.
He graduated from the University of Malawi in 1999 before completing his MA in fine art at Nottingham Trent University and then going on to write a PhD at the Chelsea College of Art and Design.
Following the Queen’s death earlier this month, it was proposed a permanent statue of Her Majesty be erected on the fourth plinth to commemorate Britain’s longest-serving monarch.
The plinth was first intended for a statue of William IV, but it was never completed and the plot was empty from the 19th century to the end of the 20th.
The statue restages a photograph from 1914 at the opening of Chilembwe’s new church in Nyasaland, now Malawi, in which the preacher has his hat on, defying the colonial rule that forbade Africans from wearing hats in front of white people
The new statue on Trafalgar Square will occupy the fourth plinth for the next two years
It replaces the piece that has sat on the landmark for the last two years, The End by Heather Phillipson
A spokesman for Mr Khan said: ‘The fourth plinth will continue to showcase new works by world-class artists for the foreseeable future.
‘There are planned fourth plinth exhibits for the next four years.
‘Samson Kambalu’s new commission, unveiled today, Antelope, will be in situ until September 2024’, The Telegraph reported.
However, they added the Mayor would support a statue of Elizabeth II elsewhere in London.
‘A statue of the Queen at a suitable location in London is a matter for the Royal Family to consider and, of course, the Greater London Authority stands ready to support them in their wishes.’
Source: ‘A statue of the Queen would look better than the succession of absolute rubbish’: ‘Mean spirited’ Sadiq Khan faces fury after snubbing statue of Elizabeth on Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth for anti-colonialist hero and transgender sex workers