A Scots artist is hoping to put a sculpture of a black cat on a pedestal in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Ruth Ewan is among the seven artists shortlisted for the Fourth Plinth prize – which has commissioned work outside the National Gallery for 25 years.

Ewan’s Believe In Discontent takes its title from suffragist Charlotte Despard, who addressed crowds in Trafalgar Square, and is modelled on a mass-produced ornament of a black cat, referencing the way the women’s rights campaigners were portrayed by the media at the time.

The 43-year-old Glasgow-based artist, who said she has two “posh” cats called Gilbert and Gloria and a “very scruffy” dog named Dora, told PA news agency that the work goes beyond Despard and her campaigners and is about “wider forms of dissent” in the square, which has seen protest gatherings.

She added that it is also a symbol of “autonomy and power”, particularly feminine, and has been used in Ancient Egypt as well as Celtic mythology.

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Aberdeen-born Ewan shows the cat “not super angry” but ready to strike.

Two contenders will be displayed from 2026 and 2028, respectively, following a public vote.

Argentinian Gabriel Chaile,  Liverpool-born Chila Kumari Singh Burman, London-based Thomas J Price, Montserrat-born Veronica Ryan, American Tschabalala Self and Romanian Andra Ursuta are also up for the honour.

Other shortlisted works include Chaile’s celebration of the behaviour of the Rufous Hornero bird, a national emblem of Argentina, Self’s bronze work that pays homage to a young, metropolitan woman of colour, Ursuţa’s life-sized person on a horse covered in a shroud and cast in a slime-green resin and Price’s ancient-inspired golden female head.

Mexican artist Teresa Margolles’s work showing the faces of 850 transgender people has already been announced as the next sculpture and will be unveiled by the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group in September.

The Fourth Plinth is funded by the Mayor of London with support from Arts Council England and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The proposals will be available to view online and maquettes of the proposed artworks will be on display at the National Gallery until March 17.

The first work to occupy the Fourth Plinth, Ecce Homo by British artist Mark Wallinger, was unveiled as a contemporary life-size figure of Christ in 1999.

The two latest winning works will be announced next month following the public vote, which closes on March 12.