Hew Locke has been short listed as one of six artists to put forward a proposal for the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square, London. The maquettes will be on show in St Martin's in the Field, Trafalgar square from the 19th August.
From 1841 until 1999 there was nothing on the Fourth Plinth in the north-west of Trafalgar Square, and it was sometimes referred to as the 'empty plinth'. It is now the location for contemporary art works, commissioned specially from leading artists, which are housed on the plinth for a year or two each. Past artists commissioned to make work have included Rachel Whiteread, Antony Gormley, Mark Quinn and Yinka Shonibare.
Hew Locke's Sikandar (The urdu translation of Kandahar, Afghanistan) will see a recreation of the statue of Field Marshal, Sir George White (1835 - 1912) , currently situated in Portland Place, engages with the contemporary legacy of British 19th century history; linking past and present, Britain and other nations. Locke is keen to highlight ongoing complexities in military interactions, trading and cultural terms, and the recurrent cycles of history. Multiculturalism and economic globalisation are both legacies of 400 years of Empire, which Locke directly experienced during his years growing up in the South American/ Caribbean mixture that is Guyana.
Sir George, who fought in the Indian Mutiny, Second Afghan War (winning the Victoria Cross in Kandahar), Nile Expedition, Burmese War and Second Boer War, will be transformed into an object of veneration. Sikandar will dramatically present a mediation on the 'Idea of Hero' and the problematic and changing nature of heroism.
The selected artist is due to be announced by the Mayor of London early next year, with the artwork they produce being installed after the current work, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare MBE has been taken down at the end of 2011.