Intended for healthcare professionals

Reviews Art

Disabled woman wins battle of Trafalgar

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 06 October 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:849
  1. John Quin (, consultant physician
  1. Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton

    Alison Lapper Pregnant is a giant, white Italian marble statue that now occupies the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Few will have missed the extensive media coverage of the unveiling and the subsequent debate about the work and its impact. Marc Quinn, the artist, takes the body, its representation, and fragilities as his main subject. From earlier totemic works such as Self—his famous series of heads made from his own blood—he has recently progressed to working with the bodies of others, in particular those with various disabilities or illnesses. A statue of a young woman with phocomelia soon to give birth now sits centre stage in London. The response to the new public work has been, perhaps predictably, polarised.

    Positive comment has centred on the essentially polemical nature of the work. Many think that this highly prominent figure highlights the great inner strength of the model, the fight she has had to gain acceptance in …

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