Nelson's Ship in a Bottle unveiled in Trafalgar Square
Story by Jack Foley
A GIANT ship in a bottle, entitled Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, has been unveiled as the new occupant of the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Created by Yinka Shonibare MBE, the ship is his version of HMS Victory and ‘docks’ complete with textile sails with African and batik prints to reflect the multi-cultural nature of the capital.
The scale replica will commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar and the 50th anniversary of Nigerian independence, where the artist grew up. It replaces Sir Keith Park’s statue and Antony Gormley’s artwork.
Since it was unveiled over the weekend, flocks of crowds have been seen admiring the attention to detail that has gone into creating the installation, as well as taking photos.
The ship itself stands 2.35m high ship and is located inside a specially-made glass bottle, which is a 1:29 scale replica of the original HMS Victory. It will remain in place for 18 months.
The ship’s 37 large sails are made of patterns that are commonly associated with African dress and culture, and are designed to reflect the path of colonialism.
They were inspired by Indonesian batik design, which were mass produced by the Dutch and sold to the colonies in West Africa.
Turner Prize-nominated Shonibare said: “For me its a celebration of London’s immense ethnic wealth. A ship in a bottle is an object of wonder. How can such towering masts and billowing sails fit inside such a commonplace object?
“With ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ I want to take this childhood sense of wonder and amplify it to match the monumental scale of Trafalgar Square.”