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Sculpture of naked, disabled artist on show in London's Trafalgar Square

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LONDON, Sept 15 (AFP) - A controversial sculpture of a naked, pregnant, disabled artist was unveiled in London's Trafalgar Square on Thursday alongside a long-standing collection of war heroes.

"Alison Lapper Pregnant", a 3.5-metre (11.5-foot) tall marble sculpture by British artist Marc Quinn, went on display on the famous square's "fourth plinth".

Lapper, born with no arms and shortened legs, posed for Quinn while heavily pregnant.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone hailed Lapper as a "modern heroine".

"This square celebrates the courage of men in battle. Alison's life is a struggle to overcome much greater difficulties than many of the men we celebrate and commemorate here," he said.

For her part, Lapper said: "This is an amazing day for me, not only just for me but for all the people in the country and across the world who have got a disability.

"It's about time people started to confront their prejudice.

The square was landscaped after Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over French and Spanish forces in the Battle of Trafalgar of 1805, and features a giant column topped by a statue of Nelson himself.

King George IV and two army generals occupy three corner plinths but the fourth was never filled.

Quinn said: "I regard it as a modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood. It is so rare to see disability in everyday life -- let alone naked, pregnant and proud."

In 18 months' time, the sculpture will be replaced by "Hotel for the Birds" by German-born Thomas Schutte, a perspex model of an imaginary building in primary colours.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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