Sculpture of destroyed Iraqi antiquity makes Trafalgar Square plinth shortlist

Artist David Shrigley poses after the unveiling of his artwork ''Really Good'' on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square in central London, Britain September 29, 2016.  REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
Artist David Shrigley poses after the unveiling of his artwork ”Really Good” on the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square in central London, Britain September 29, 2016.

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth


A 14-foot high sculpture of a winged bull made of empty date syrup cans could be greeting visitors to London’s Trafalgar Square next year if it is chosen from a shortlist unveiled on Thursday.

Entitled “The Invisible Enemy Should not Exist,” the sculpture by Michael Rakowitz took inspiration from the statue of a protective deity that once stood at the entrance to Nineveh, Iraq, which was destroyed by Islamic State insurgents in 2015.

It is among five candidates, two of which will next occupy Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth from 2018 and 2020 respectively.

Among its rivals are “The End” by Heather Phillipson which features a swirl of whipped cream, topped with a cherry. A fly has landed on the cream while a drone sits on the cherry.

Models of all five shortlisted works will be on display at the National Gallery in London from Jan. 19 to March 26.

Originally a platform built in 1841 to hold an equestrian statue of King William IV, the fourth plinth remained bare for over a century due to a lack of funds.

More recently, it has hosted a rolling roster of commissioned artworks. They include “Alison Lapper Pregnant” by Marc Quinn (2005); “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” by Yinka Shonibare (2010) and Elmgreen and Dragset’s “Powerless Structures, Fig 101,” a sculpture of a boy on a rocking horse.

Currently on the plinth is David Shrigley’s “Really Good”, a hand giving a thumbs-up sign.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Stephen Addison)

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