On 24 May, Anglo-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare unveiled his artwork, “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle,” at Trafalgar Square, London. The artwork is the next commission for the Fourth Plinth and is a scale replica of HMS Victory (1 30) in a bottle, measuring 4.7m in length and 2.8m in diameter. Yinka’s “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” is the first commission on the Fourth Plinth to reflect specifically on Trafalgar Square’s historical symbolism, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar and links directly with Nelson’s column. Furthermore, it is also the first commission by a black British artist. The ship features 37 large sails are made from rich patterned textiles that are commonly associated with African dress and symbolic of African identity and independence.
The fabric’s history goes on to reveal that it was inspired by Indonesian batik design. Yinka claims his artwork depicts the story of multiculturalism that is existent in London.
Besides highlighting the multiculturism, Yinka also hoped to amplify the artwork’s mysterious and intriguing appeal, doing many wonders how a ship is fitted into a bottle.