Yinka Shonibare CBE's 'Nelson's Ship' acquired by National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum, London, England
The Art Fund and National Maritime Museum launched a successful public appeal to acquire and permanently display this work outside the new Sammy Ofer Wing of the museum, where it is clearly visible across Greenwich Park.

Alongside the Art Fund's grant of £50,000, £251,677 was raised through the public campaign, mostly from individuals. The work is a scaled-down replica of HMS Victory, the ship captained by Nelson. It was commissioned by the Greater London Authority in 2009 for the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, where it was displayed from May 2010 to January 2012. The only significant departure from the historical Victory is the use of richly patterned ‘Dutch Wax’ fabric (a trademark of the artist’s work) for the 37 sails. The fabric is commonly associated with African dress and symbolic of African identity and independence. Tying together historical and global threads, the work considers the legacy of British colonialism and its expansion in trade and Empire, made possible through the freedom of the seas and new trade routes that Nelson’s victory provided. The National Maritime houses a rich and varied collection of art and items relating to Britain’s maritime history and major collections related to Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. This campaign represents the Art Fund's first fundraising appeal for a contemporary work.

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