London has a new public work of art.  A Winged Bull made of recycled date syrup tins.  He stands proudly on the Fourth Plinth, Trafalgar Square, just outside the National Gallery.
Michael Rakowitz Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square

Michael Rakowitz recreated the Lamassu, as the winged bull is known in its native Ninevah, as part of a project to recreate all 7,000 works of art that have been lost or destroyed in Iraq since 2003.  The stone original stood at the Nergal Gate in Ninevah from around 700BC until 2006 when it was destroyed by Daesh.  This date syrup can version is entitled ‘The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist’.  The recycled date syrup tins represent the many date palms that have also been destroyed and were an important source of income for the area.
Mark Rakowitz The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist
So what is a winged bull made from date syrup tins doing in Trafalgar Square?  Just below Nelson.   Everyone knows who Nelson is; Norfolk boy, heroic Admiral, victor at the Battle of Trafalgar.  He stands proudly on his column in the middle of Trafalgar Square.  Surrounding him are four plinths.  Three of them are surmounted by bronze statues of men.  Who are they?  I don’t know.  The fourth plinth was destined to be home to an equestrian statue of William IV but sufficient funds were never raised and it remained empty for 150 years.

Fourth Plinth Michael Rakowitz

 Fast forward to 1999 Mark Wallinger’s life size statue of Jesus Ecce Homo took up residence.  A debate then ensued about what should permanently live on the plinth.  It was decided that nothing would stay there forever, rather that new works of art would take turns atop the plinth.  The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist was chosen by public vote: you can read my post about Fourth Plinth: You Choose here.

What do you think?  Have you seen the date can winged bull yet?



    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 9:38 am

      Date syrup, it’s very nice on porridge!

  1. April 8, 2018 / 4:56 am

    Lovely sculpture and such great meaning. I never knew why the 4th plinth was left empty #mysundayphoto

  2. April 8, 2018 / 6:43 am

    I haven’t seen this new arrival on the Fourth Plinth, but I will be sure to swing by next time I am in the area. How creative to make it from recycled date tins. Your took this pic on a suoerb day for photography! it’s well lit up.

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 9:39 am

      I had Thursday earmarked as the day for our visit and was very pleased when we woke to blue skies!

  3. April 8, 2018 / 7:12 am

    He’s berry impressive. I wouldn’t have wanted to eat all those dates though! #MySundayPhoto

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 9:40 am

      Teen 1 is a bit of a date fiend, so we would have been happy to help! 😉

  4. April 8, 2018 / 8:55 am

    It’s incredible isn’t it, I was watching them unveiling it on a live stream

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 9:41 am

      There was a live stream and I missed it!

  5. April 8, 2018 / 9:47 am

    Wow I can’t believe it’s been made with date syrup cans (or that date syrup exists!). So amazing.

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 10:01 am

      I’ve had date syrup before but in bottles

  6. April 8, 2018 / 10:15 am

    That is such an impressive sculpture. I love the fact that there is nothing fixed there – it gives so many creators the chance to showcase their work. #MySundayPhoto

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 10:16 am

      I know it’s quite exciting to have a space where new stuff appears

  7. April 8, 2018 / 10:54 am

    Those photos are stunning. What magnificent sculptures x #mysundayphoto

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 11:10 am

      Blue skies and great art make good photos easier 😉

  8. April 8, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    Wow, that is stunning!!

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Especially with the blue blue skies!

  9. bavariansojourn
    April 8, 2018 / 9:34 pm

    Oooh I quite like that. Better than the big blue chicken, do you remember that? 😀

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      I do! The chicken was the first Fourth Plinth that I remember seeing

  10. April 8, 2018 / 10:24 pm

    I do like the changing 4th plinth. Not too sure about this one, but it’s certainly an interesting story.

    • Catherine
      April 8, 2018 / 10:37 pm

      He does look fine in the sunlight

    • Catherine
      April 9, 2018 / 10:02 am

      I love just meandering around London looking at stuff

  11. April 12, 2018 / 8:42 pm

    We have just returned from london but didn’t head this way. Looks really cool-will put it on list for next time #culturedkids

    • Catherine
      April 12, 2018 / 9:33 pm

      Definitely worth swinging by Trafalgar Square for

  12. April 12, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    I’ve read about different things being on that plinth – I think a guy did a magic stunt there or something, I can’t remember – but I always wondered why it was empty! Though this particular installment is really quite something! #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 12, 2018 / 9:39 pm

      Antony Gormley had 100 days on the the Plinth in 2009 called One and Other during which a different person occupied the Plinth for 24 hours doing whatever they wanted, so one of them may well have been a magician

  13. April 12, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    I love seeing what’s atop the fourth plinth whenever I’m in town. I believe there was a large thumb most recently? I loved the giant ship in a bottle that was there a few years ago. What a very creative way to commemorate and bring to to light such a tragic loss of the worlds treasures. #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      April 12, 2018 / 10:19 pm

      Thumbs Up! as the big thumb was called was, indeed, the previous occupant

  14. April 14, 2018 / 5:29 pm

    This is super interesting artwork at Trafalgar Sq. Even more intriguing since they have made it out of recycled items. I wonder how it is fitting in with the rest of the statues though 🙂 Definitely a step up for modern art!

    • Catherine
      April 14, 2018 / 5:36 pm

      Definitely different to the big Landseer lions at the base of Nelson Column

  15. April 14, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    This is awesome. Love that it’s been up cycled too – not just because of what the cans represent, but because the material in which they’re made from themselves!

    • Catherine
      April 14, 2018 / 6:21 pm

      So many messages in just one statue!

  16. April 14, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    I’ve not been to see this yet, but I’m back in London next month, so I’ll definitely stop by. It was a great decision to have different art on the fourth plinth, and this one is incredible. I’ll look at it with better understanding having read your explanation. I’m a big fan of unexpected materials in art.

    • Catherine
      April 15, 2018 / 12:40 pm

      That’s the problem/beauty of London it always changes, meaning you just have to revisit!

  17. April 14, 2018 / 11:20 pm

    One piece of art with so many messages. Love this piece. Wish it was there when I was.

  18. April 15, 2018 / 8:51 pm

    There was a very emotional review in the Guardian about it by Adrian Searle. This and your photos really make me want to book a trip to London again. Thanks for the post. x

    • Catherine
      April 15, 2018 / 8:59 pm

      Always available for statue viewing!

  19. April 16, 2018 / 3:29 am

    Ok I think my comment will go through this time! I love it when artists use recycled material for their art works – always a clever way to make art responsibly! Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

    • Catherine
      April 16, 2018 / 5:57 am

      Hurrah! Always a pleasure

  20. April 17, 2018 / 11:46 pm

    I am truly impressed that it is made of recycled materials! It is a very good representation of the original and I love the colors, because you don’t think of the sculpture in technicolor, but it probably was. So do you know how long it will stay in Trafalgar? I kind of love that it has become a place for rotating public art. Gives people something new to think about, look at, admire, hate, discuss every so often. That is what art should be! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles

    • Catherine
      April 18, 2018 / 7:27 am

      You have two years until Spring 2020 to get to Trafalgar Square

  21. Beth
    April 18, 2018 / 9:59 am

    Oh wow, now I know the deal about that part of Trafalgar Square! I too have only known “the thumb” but I am intrigued to see this in person, especially since there is color involved. Might be more thematic over by the British Museum, no? 😉

    We have company coming to visit from the states, will strut my stuff when I can explain what’s happening there. Thank you! 🙂

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