Giant sweet potato, ice cream van and Argentina's favourite bird shortlisted for Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth

19 February 2024, 11:50 | Updated: 19 February 2024, 16:17

Options for the fourth plinth have been unveiled
Options for the fourth plinth have been unveiled. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A sweet potato island, an ice cream van and Argentina's national bird are among the artworks shortlisted for a spot on Trafalgar Square's fourth plinth.

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The empty pedestal, which is used for a rotating set of art, will host the face casts of 850 transgender people from London from September.

A total of seven contenders have been unveiled to take over from 2026 and 2028.

Turner Prize winner Veronica Ryan wants to showcase "Sweet Potatoes And Yams Are Not The Same", an homage to global conversations that take place in Trafalgar Square.

Read more: Sadiq Khan slammed for using peaceful women's rights activist to promote Overground line named for Suffragettes

Chila Kumari Singh Burman, who calls herself a Punjabi Liverpudlian, wants to make "In The Smile You Send Returns To You" and aims to use her father's ice cream van as part of a display of his journey from India to the UK.

And Gabriel Chaile would like to put up a celebration of the behaviour of the Rufous Hornero, Argentina's national bird.

Other ideas include a bronze work of a woman of colour, a person on a horse covered in slime-green resin, a sculpture of a fictional woman and a piece depicting suffragist Charlotte Despard, who addressed crowds at Trafalgar Square.

New options for the fourth plinth, like this ice cream van sculpture, have been shortlisted
New options for the fourth plinth, like this ice cream van sculpture, have been shortlisted. Picture: Alamy
One option is the sweet potato island
One option is the sweet potato island. Picture: Alamy

Ekow Eshun, chairman of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: "On behalf of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, I would like to thank the artists for taking the time to consider this unique commission so carefully.

"There is an incredible group of works on show today, and we look forward to hearing the public's thoughts on these proposals."

The winners will be announced in March and will be shown off at the National Galley in maquette form.

Improntas, the collection of trans people's face masks, will be unveiled in September. It will take the form of a Tzompantli used by Mesoamerican civilisations.

The Mayor of London funds the work along with help from Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Sadiq Khan was criticised over his £6m rebrand of the London Overground, which has seen them dubbed Windrush, Suffragette, Lioness, Weaver, Mildmay and Liberty.

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