A tall woman walking, a golden head, a shard of glass or a multicoloured camper van are amongst the artworks that have been shortlisted for Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth.

The fourth plinth has been hosting contemporary artworks since Mark Wallinger’s Ecce Homo was displayed there in 1999. However, the use of the plinth was a temporary experiment for three years until it resumed in 2005 when Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant was displayed.

Since then, ten more artworks have been displayed on the plinth, and a new one will go up later this year. Today, the shortlist for the next two commissions was unveiled.

The shortlisted proposals are:

The Smile You Send Returns to You by Chila Burman

The work tells of her father’s voyage to the UK from India on the HMS Battory. At the centre of the sculpture is her father’s ice cream van The Rocket, which is a recurring motif in Burman’s work.

The Smile You Send Returns to You by Chila Burman – photo: James O’Jenkins

Hornero by Gabriel Chaile

The sculpture is a celebration of the behaviour of the Rufous Hornero bird, a national emblem of Argentina. The bird is known for building homes on high surfaces such as light poles and monuments; Chaile’s work will mimic the shape of the nest, which resembles an old wood-burning oven.

Hornero by Gabriel Chaile – photo: James O’Jenkins

Believe in Discontent by Ruth Ewan

The sculpture takes its title from words by suffragist Charlotte Despard, who addressed many crowds in Trafalgar Square. Modelled on a mass-produced ornament of a black cat, it challenges the hierarchy of sculpture versus ornament in public space as well as reflecting on the Square’s role in the history of social change, specifically the women from the suffrage movement and who were insultingly portrayed as cats in the media.

Believe in Discontent by Ruth Ewan – photo: James O’Jenkins

Ancient Feelings by Thomas J Price

A monumental golden bronze sculpture depicts a fictional woman whose features have been amalgamated from a wide range of historical sources, creating a collective community portrait.

Ancient Feelings by Thomas J Price – photo: ianVisits

Sweet Potatoes and Yams are Not the Same by Veronica Ryan

The work presents a sweet potato island, building on Ryan’s practice of using everyday objects, particularly foods. The humble potato, which originated in Peru, South America, has travelled all around the world and represents the global conversations that happen in Trafalgar Square.

Sweet Potatoes and Yams are Not the Same by Veronica Ryan – photo: James O’Jenkins

Lady in Blue by Tschabalala Self

The sculpture pays homage to a young, metropolitan woman of colour inspired by a desire to bring a contemporary ‘everywoman’ to Trafalgar Square. Made of bronze, the work will be patinated with Lapis Lazuli blue, a rare and refined pigment that has been used since antiquity.

Lady in Blue by Tschabalala Self – photo: James O’Jenkins

Untitled by Andra Ursuta

The artist presents a hollow, life-sized person on a horse covered in a shroud and cast in a slime-green resin. The sculpture embodies multiple histories of public sculpture and commemoration at a time when there is increasing debate about the use of public space.

Untitled by Andra Ursuta – photo: James O’Jenkins

Scale models of the artworks will be on display in the National Gallery until 17th March 2024 — in the room next to the portico entrance. The public are also invited to have their say about the proposed artworks, which will inform the decision of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group when selecting the two winning sculptures.

The two winning works will be announced in March 2024 and installed on the Fourth Plinth in 2026 and 2028, respectively. The shortlist for the fourth plinth comes just after the Mayor of London authorised £1.03 million to fund the next two artwork commissioners, as well as three annual school art awards.

The longlisting process for the following round of fourth plinth artworks begins in Autumn 2025 and concludes with new shortlisted proposals in Winter 2026-27.


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  1. Hola Watkins says:

    From my stand point the Ancient Feeling tell the story about History and the Lady in Blue are our favourite.we are 20 in numbers.

  2. Garry Maclennan says:

    Believe in Discontent by Ruth Ewan


    Untitled by Andra Ursuta

    Both sen the most relevant for the space.

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