London Loves…. Subverting Public Art

Masked-up statue in Paternoster Square, City of London, 08/09/09
Masked-up statue in Paternoster Square, City of London, 08/09/09

Where? – Paternoster Square, City of London. Next door to St Paul’s Cathedral.

When? – 8th September 2009

What’s the story? – Paternoster Square was the finishing point for an anti-arms trade demo, which had called on many of the City banks and investment companies who provide funds for weapons companies. The protest was one of a number of actions that took place during the biannual Defence Systems and Equipment International (DSEi) arms fair, held in Docklands at the beginning of September.

The square itself is a busy place, full of cafes, posh offices, odd bits of public art, and expensive little shops, patronised by a steady stream of gawking tourists and besuited City types, who are – it must be said – not looking too cheerful these days. It’s all a bit too serious, even in the sunshine.

However, someone had obviously brought a much-needed and subversively cheeky sense of humour out with them that afternoon – this little prank appeared out of nowhere, and greatly amused the assembled protesters. I didn’t see who did it; all I know is that I looked round to see the modern art statue of a shepherd suddenly wearing a demonstrators mask. Just the shepherd. His sheep, which follow him faithfully across his plinth, remained unmasked.

There’s probably a political irony in there somewhere.

This is the first in an occasional series of strange, beautiful, funny, curious, striking and/or just plain interesting images taken in and around London by trickygirl’s faithful old cameraphone. This is the real London; this is London as seen by a Londoner through the viewfinder of the world’s most basic digital camera and a lifetime’s experience of this totally unique city. This is London without a safety net, without the crowds, the rudeness, the rain, or any need to pay the congestion charge. This is my London. And London Loves…

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