London: The award-winning Scottish artist behind the iconic sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square in London believes that the apostle of peace is the most revered of world leaders who occupy that historic site opposite the Palace of Westminster, which houses the UK Parliament.
As Britain joins in marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, Philip Jackson relives the painstaking hours he spent studying one of his most challenging subjects before recreating his likeness based on the Indian leader's last visit to the UK for a Round Table Conference in 1931.
"Gandhi showed that you could win your argument and impose your will by peaceful means and in this troubled world that is an example to be followed," said Jackson, who describes feeling "doubly honoured" at being the one to execute the project in 2015 at Parliament Square - already home to world leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.
"When in 2015 the sculpture of Gandhi was placed in Parliament Square, he became the eleventh sculpture in front of the Palace of Westminster of which nine were Prime Ministers and two were Presidents.
Much of the fame and popularity of the other sculptures has faded but the popularity and respect for Gandhi has grown," said the 75-year-old artist, known for his emphasis on form and honoured by Queen Elizabeth II in 2009 for his contribution to the world of art.
"He is visited by hundreds of people every day and although I have no way of proving it, I believe he is the most revered in Parliament Square. Bearing in mind he was a thorn in the flesh of the British government during most of his life, it says a great deal about his legacy that he has been honoured in sight of Parliament and says a lot about Britain that they should place his sculpture where it is," he noted.