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Trafalgar Square

Samson Kambalu c. James O Jenkins

Samson Kambalu and Teresa Margolles have been announced as the two artists chosen for the next commissions for Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. The Fourth Plinth is one of the most important art commissions in the world. As an established part of London’s public landscape it brings out the critic in everyone.

Antelope by Samson Kambalu restages a 1914 photograph of Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley as a sculpture. Chilembwe has his hat on, defying the colonial rule that forbade Africans from wearing hats in front of white people.  On the plinth, Chilembwe is larger than life while Chorley is life-size; by increasing his scale, the artist elevates Chilembwe and his story, revealing the hidden narratives of underrepresented peoples in the history of the British Empire in Africa and beyond. 

850 Improntas (850 Imprint) by Teresa Margolles features casts of the faces of 850 trans people from London and around the world. She works closely with this marginalised community that sometimes is unable to access social care. The ‘life masks’ will be arranged round the plinth in the form of a Tzompantli, a skull rack from Mesoamerican civilisations (an area covering Central Mexico to northern Costa Rica). 

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: 

“Our international shortlist showed again that the Fourth Plinth is one of the most important art commissions in the world, and I’d like to congratulate Samson Kambalu and Teresa Margolles as the next artists to have their work displayed. They will be shining a spotlight on important issues that our society continues to face, and I know they will spark debate and interest at home and abroad.”

The works are available to view online