Mahatma Gandhi maquette
A new statue of Mahatma Gandhi was unveiled in London's Parliament Square in March 2015. This was to mark the 100th anniversary of his return to India to start the struggle for independence from British rule. Catto Gallery are delighted to have a limited edition of 20 maquettes available in the new exhibition of Philip Jackson's sculptures.
In 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi returned to his native India from South Africa, where he had worked as a lawyer.
The move home began his lifelong non-violent struggle to free his country from British rule. 100 years later, a statue of the inspirational leader was unveiled in Parliament Square – the very heart of what was the British empire.
Many commentators noted the irony of this. But they also viewed the event as a reflection of progress made by the two countries. "As the father of the largest democracy in the world, it’s time for Gandhi to take his place in front of the mother of Parliament," said Britain’s then chancellor George Osborne.
Fund raising for the statue was led by Lord Desai, the Indian born economist and academic. Ultimately, the Memorial Trust raised more than £1m in just six months and the Government commissioned Philip Jackson to create the nine foot bronze sculpture. Philip used photographs taken in 1931 when Gandhi visited Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald at Downing Street as the basis for his work.
The unveiling was attended by Prime Minister David Cameron, Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley, Gandhi’s grandson Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, and actor Amitabh Bachchan. A band played Indian classical music and Indian flags festooned the square. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid was among those delighted with Philip’s work. He said: “Gandhi is one of the most inspirational figures in history and the statute will be a fitting symbol to his teachings.”