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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 January 2008, 18:17 GMT
Artists in race for the plinth
Six concepts have been shortlisted in the race to display artwork on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. BBC News look at the artists, their inspiration and the message behind their ideas.

Jeremy Deller

Jeremy Deller wants to bring in a real burnt-out car from Iraq - one that has been the subject of an attack on civilians - to make a point about conflicts.

Jeremy Deller
Jeremy Deller's work highlights political and social issues

But the artist said The Spoils of War (Memorial For An Unknown Civilian) was "not an artwork".

The London-born artist - who won a Turner prize in 2004 for his documentary on Texas, Memory Bucket - said: "The presentation of the spoils of war to a curious public dates back at least to the Roman Empire."

As his concept is not created in a studio he is hopeful the trade agreement between UK and Iraq would enable him to bring the installation home on time.

"We don't have the car. But we will get one," he said.

Mr Deller is known for depicting social and political issues through his art. One of his famous works is a re-enactment of clashes between police and miners during the 1984 strike.

Bob & Roberta Smith

Patrick Brill, who goes by the name of Bob & Roberta Smith, wants to spread the message of peace through environmentally friendly means.

Patrick Brill
Bob & Roberta Smith uses humour and sign painting

Faîtes L'Art, pas La Guerre (Make Art, Not War) is a 100ft (30.4m) tall illuminated installation which literally spells out peace.

But instead of using up energy, solar panels and a wind-generated power will keep the artwork alight.

Mr Brill said his work was meant to be "a gentle provocation".

"This is the site of our lording it over the French.

"But the achievements in the National Gallery and the ICA and the National Portrait Gallery are more interesting and more important to our country than our military history."

London-born Mr Brill is advocate of conveying hard-hitting issues through humour, via sign painting on various mediums rather than canvas.

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin's inspiration comes from meerkats, animals found in Africa's Kalahari Desert.

Tracey Emin
Tracey Emin's work My Bed attracted a lot of attention in 1999

The animals band together and keep a look-out for predators and Ms Emin believes this behaviour symbolises "unity and safety" in the human world.

Ms Emin said: "Whenever Britain is in crisis or, as a nation, is experiencing sadness and loss (for example, after Princess Diana's funeral), the next programme on television is Meerkats United."

Her concept, Something For The Future, stems from her years of interest and studies into the mammals.

London-born Ms Emin is often inspired by her personal experiences and is best known for courting controversy through her art.

Anish Kapoor

Mumbai-born artist Anish Kapoor wants to bring the sky to the ground.

Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor's Sky Mirror has generated interest in Nottingham

His proposal Sky Plinth will feature five concave, coloured mirrors - each three metres (9.8ft) in diameter - which will cantilever from the plinth to reflect the sky.

Mr Kapoor said: "The mirrors become a form of display for the natural phenomena of the rain and the clouds and the sunshine, rather than the political and the heroic, which is what's going on in the rest of Trafalgar Square.

"It's almost as if the clouds flat across the surface. It's cinematic almost, a changing scape."

The artist, who was awarded the Turner Prize in 1991, has recently installed a Sky Mirror at the Nottingham Playhouse.

Sky Mirror at New York's Rockefeller Center, Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millennium Park and Marsyas in the Tate Modern are counted among his best works.

Antony Gormley

Antony Gormley's One and the Other is intended to be a true representation of society.

Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley created the iconic Angel of the North

He wants to see members of the public on the plinth around-the-clock and intends to ask volunteers to be on display for an hour at time.

The person on display will be free to express himself or herself in whichever way they choose.

The artist, who won the Turner Prize in 1995, said: "I would like the widest range of human behaviour to be represented.

"I think in the heart of every citizen of the world there is a desire to make your views known to a wider public.

"The plinth is a rather old fashioned way of separating life from art and I wanted the opposite, for life to occupy the space of art."

Mr Gormley uses the human image in sculpture and perhaps one of his best known work is The Angel of the North, which has become a landmark for Gateshead.

Yinka Shonibare

London-born Yinka Shonibare, who grew up in Nigeria, wants to capture the multicultural spirit of the city.

Yinka Shonibare
Yinka Shonibare wants to reflect the multiculturalism of London

His Nelson's Ship in a Bottle will be a scale replica of Lord Admiral Nelson's ship, HMS Victory, in a huge glass bottle.

Mr Shonibare said: "The Battle of Trafalgar happened in 1805 and that freed up the seas for the British Empire, hence the Empire managed to thrive.

"The cultural diversity of London is the unintended consequence of colonialism. London is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world.

"In a way it's ironic that Nelson helped to win the battle for cultural diversity."

His reproduction of the ship will have richly patterned sails made from textiles inspired by Indonesian batik, but which came to signify the colourful identity of Africa.

The Turner Prize nominated artist deals with issues of race and class through various mediums.

In pictures: Fourth plinth ideas
08 Jan 08 |  In Pictures

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