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A recent walk in Trafalgar Square

The latest fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square: Antelope by Samson Kambalu

On a recent walk through Trafalgar Square, I saw the latest fourth plinth, a sculpture restaging a 1914 photograph of Baptist preacher and pan-Africanist John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley at the opening of Chilembwe’s new church in Nyasaland, now Malawi.

Chilembwe wears a hat in an act of defiance, defying the colonial rule that forbade Africans from wearing hats in front of white people. A year later, he led an uprising against colonial rule; Chilembwe was killed and his church was destroyed by the colonial police.

The artist elevates this story by making Chilembwe larger than life, while Chorley remains life-size.

This is the 14th commission in the Mayor of London’s Fourth Plinth Programme, and will be on display until 2024.

 


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Copyright Debbie Smyth, 7 November 2022

Posted as part of Becky’s WalkingSquares

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