Antelope by Samson Kambalu is the next commission to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth - FAD Magazine

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Antelope by Samson Kambalu is the next commission to be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth

 by Samson Kambalu will be unveiled on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square on 14 September 2022.  It will be the 14th Fourth Plinth commission since the programme began in 1998 and follows on from THE END by Heather Phillipson which will be on the plinth until 15 August 2022.

The Fourth Plinth is funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Antelope was selected in 2021 by the Fourth Plinth Commission Group, following an exhibition at the National Gallery where nearly 17,500 people commented on the selection.

The sculpture restages a photograph of Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley as a sculpture. The photograph was taken in 1914 at the opening of Chilembwe’s new church in Nyasaland, now Malawi.  Chilembwe is wearing a hat, defying the colonial rule that forbade Africans from wearing hats in front of white people. A year later he led an uprising against colonial rule.  Chilembwe was killed and his church, which had taken years to build, was destroyed by the colonial police. In Kambalu’s work, Chilembwe will be almost twice the size of Chorley. 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

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said:.

“I can’t wait to see Samson Kambalu’s sculpture unveiled on the world-renowned Fourth Plinth in September. His work shines a light on a hidden narrative of the British Empire and will reveal how a simple hat became a symbol for the fight for equality.  Heather Phillipson’s THE END has shown the power of the Fourth Plinth to spark conversation, and I’d urge anyone who hasn’t seen her sculpture to take a chance to enjoy it before August 15.”

Coinciding with the unveiling of Antelope, an updated version of Kambalu’s memoir The Jive Talker: Or, How to get a British Passport will be released in paperback by September Publishing. Kambalu tells the story of how a little boy obsessed with fashion, football, Nietzsche and Michael Jackson won a free education at the Kamuzu Academy (‘The Eton of Africa’) and began his long journey to art school, and international artistic and academic success. The new edition includes a new 5000-word introduction by the artist that includes being chosen for the Fourth Plinth.

Samson Kambalu said:

Antelope on the Fourth Plinth was ever going to be a litmus test for how much I belong to British society as an African and a cosmopolitan. This commission fills me with excitement and joy.”

The Fourth Plinth is known across the globe for bringing world-class contemporary art to London’s most prominent historical public square. For two decades it has showcased the work of great artists who have not shied away from tackling the important issues of the day. Yinka Shonibare CBE considered the legacy of British colonialism in Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Katharina Fritsch commented on gender equality and the masculine posturing in the square with her work Hahn/Cock and Michael Rakowitz’s recreation of the Lamassu, a winged bull and protective deity that was destroyed in Nineveh (near modern day Mosul) in 2015 shone a light on the devastating impact of war on cultural heritage.



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