The statue of the country’s freedom fighter John Chilembwe has been crowned as the winner of a vote to decide which contemporary art from across the world to be erected at the Trafalgar Square in London.

The curator, Malawian-born Profesor Samson Kambalu, has confirmed the development.

Kambalu’s sculpture Antelope depicts a 1914 photograph of Baptist preacher John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley.

The statue will be on display in 2022 while Teresa Margolles’s art on faces of trans people will go in 2024.

Kambalu said the original picture his artwork was based on “looks ordinary” at a first glance.

“But when you research the photograph, you find that actually there’s subversion there because at that time in 1914 it was forbidden for Africans to wear hats before white people,” he said.

In his design, Chilembwe is larger than life while Chorley is life-size.

The judges said by increasing his scale, the artist elevated Chilembwe and his story, revealing the hidden narratives of underrepresented people in the history of the British Empire in Africa and beyond.


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