Fourth Plinth Designs By School Kids Winners Announced
An awards ceremony was held today to present schoolchildren with prizes for their winning designs as part of the Fourth Plinth Schools Award. Elmgreen & Dragset, whose artwork currently resides on the plinth, presented the prizes, having chosen their favourite works from each borough of London, which are currently on show in an exhibition at City Hall until 31 May.
First Prize was awarded to Alexander Eveleigh (Year 6), from City of London School for Boys, for his proposal entitled Vampire Elephant. Eveleigh created his own animal sculpture for Trafalgar Square to accompany Edwin Lanseer’s monumental lions which guard the four corners of Nelson’s Column.
Second prize was awarded to Mageda Madeha Ahmed, Mahera Ali, Katia Bennamane, Melda Izzigil (Year 4) from Sebright Primary School for their sculpture of Hackney Town Hall. The sculpture was produced as part of a project in which children created models of buildings that have affected their lives.
Third prize was awarded to Jake Green (Year 11), from Forest Hill School for his sculpture entitled Pick up a Mic not a Knife, which aimed to prevent knife crime in London. The title of the piece is inscribed across the sculpture in capital letters as a proposed slogan for young people. Green cited Claes Oldenburg, an artist he is studying at school, as the influence for his over-enlarged microphone which is designed to draw the viewer in.
Children’s proposals celebrated the Olympics, examined what it means to be a Londoner, or depicted iconic British buildings and people. A giant pigeon, the Queen, British weather, a Sunday Roast, the London skyline, a commemorative poppy and a police officer were just some London-themed ideas. The plinth itself was even explored as a platform for new uses, including a climbing wall for the general public to enjoy. A remarkable number of children used their design as a platform to challenge social issues such as the recession, multiculturalism or homelessness. The Schools Award offers children a resource to express their views and proves that children believe that public art can act as a method for change.
Open to all primary and secondary schools in London, the competition provides an opportunity for students to design an artwork inspired by the commissions for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. The competition received over 700 entries from children across London for this year’s open call, all of which can now be viewed on a dedicated website. Inspiring others to create art and think about what it can say about our city is essential to the Fourth Plinth Schools Award Competition. The proposals display young people’s understanding of the importance of public art as well as the influence of sculptures which have already adorned the Plinth in Trafalgar Square.
Elmgreen & Dragset said, “It was an absolute joy to study the hundreds of very different proposals that came in from children all over London. They really showed the diversity of the city and it was very hard to choose three prize-winning works in the end. Several projects were based on team spirit and joint efforts, which is of course something we appreciate as a long-standing collaboration ourselves. We also enjoyed the students understanding of art as a possible tool to air opinions and raise political awareness. Last but not least, we had a good laugh throughout this process: you Brits seem to be born with it!”
Ekow Eshun, Chair of the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, said: 'The Fourth Plinth Schools Awards are a brilliant way to get young Londoners excited about art. What I love about the competition is the variety of ways of seeing London it throws up and that each artwork says something different about our city. We receive so many fantastic ideas from across the capital it's very difficult deciding on three winners.'