Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)


The Crowning, 2007
The Crowning, 2007

Wilderness into a Garden, Daegu Art Museum, South Korea

30th May - 18th October 2015

In 2015 the Daegu Art Museum will present a solo show of Yinka Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist.
Approximately 80 of his pieces including sculptures, two-dimensional works, installations, and video works will be on display, showcasing his extensive range of art. The exhibition will be comprised of six sub-themes: money, play, empire, conflict, environment, and love.
Shonibare employs an adaption of individual elements upon which our common impressions of African people have been predicated in his own artistic idioms. His mannequins wearing traditional African costumes in bright, loud colors are a symbol, metaphor, and implication of the violent imperialism Western powers have committed in the past century toward the “black continent”. Hidden behind the mannequins’ humorous, hilarious actions is the artist’s criticism of the “monster of outrageous capitalism” dominating the spirits of people around the world. The Daegu Art Museum has paid special attention to his works since the topics he raises such as colonialism, post-colonialism, globalization, and cultural identity are inextricably bound up withKorea’s historical and cultural contexts.
As in the African continent, deep scars caused by imperialist plunders are still left in many Asian countries’ social structures and Asian people’s collective consciousness. Such scars, however, remain untreated and forgotten by capitalism’s excessive stimulation, causing Asians to completely lose their identities. After all, the severance of tradition and history that resulted from physical invasion and plunder tragically causes spiritual depredation in Asia. This tragic situation in Asia is none other than what Shonibare criticizes about Africa’s political, spiritual and cultural circumstances in relation with Western powers. This accounts for his work’s universality.
Past history is important because the social structures of today have stemmed from it. As such, we have to reflect our present social systems onto the mirror of history since a future society will be determined by our present aspects. In his work, Shonibare presents how the enormous saw-toothed wheels of history continuously and organically operate. His artistic language will serve as a special momentum to bring Korean and East Asian viewers to the recovery of their historical consciousness, cultural identity, and self-reflection.


The British Library installed at Museu Afro Brazil
The British Library installed at Museu Afro Brazil

AFRICANS AFRICA:Contemporary African Art, Museu Afro Brazil

25th May - September 2015

The Museu Afro Brazil promotes from the 25th of May, International Day of Africa, the largest exhibition of contemporary African art ever held in our country. With programming that includes installations, paintings, videos, sculptures, fashion and a meeting for discussions with the artists, the Africans Africa project, which is sponsored by Banco Itaú and Odebrecht, presents an overview of recent visual creation on the continent through works of artists from various African countries. Admission is free and open to all ages. 
The exhibition features about 100 works from more than 20 artists in various media and languages, as well as other works of African art belonging to the museum's collection and the special collection of Emanoel Araujo, curatorial director of the museum. 
The exhibition focuses on the creation of African artists, born and living on the continent or elsewhere, as well as African origin of artists who, despite having been born outside of Africa, dialogue with the plurality of aesthetic and social experiences present in different regions of the continent.
In Brazil, the threads that bind us to the mainland and that for a long time were forgotten and hidden by the characteristic cordial racism in Brazilian society urge us to seek an Africa that is often created by the imagination. The image of Africa conveyed by the Brazilian media is often miserable or you dreamed and idealized, that cultural practices originate in an Africa that no longer corresponds to the current.
The first stage of Africa Africans happened last April 17, part of the calendar of the 39th edition of the São Paulo Fashion Week (Fashion Week), where the museum was honored to receive the shows Africa Africans Fashion and introduced the five African designers work : Palesa Mokubung (South Africa); Amaka "Maki" Osakwe (Nigeria); Jamil Walji '(Kenya); Xuly Bet (Mali) and Imane Ayissi (Cameroon). The fashion show took place in the central space of the museum and was curated by Nigerian Andy Okoroafor recognized editor and art director, music videos and fashion in Paris, France.
One of the most prominent works of the Africa Africans will be the colossal "The British Library," the Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. Born in London in 1962, Shonibare was created in Nigeria and returned to the English capital to study Arts, ushering in his artistic career. His installation consists of 6,225 colorful books shielded by tissues dutch wax - known as 'African fabrics' but manufactured in the Netherlands to use techniques inspired by the ancient art of Indonesian batik. Use of this material is a registered trademark of the artist. Shonibare debate in this workforce issues that are guys like colonialism, postcolonialism and hybrid and explores the impact of immigration on all aspects of British culture, considering the notions of territory and place, cultural identity, displacement and refuge. The work also uses multimedia features, like iPads.
Also with confirmed presence is "Skylines" by El Anatsui, Ghanaian living in Nigeria. Born in 1944, he is considered the most important African artist today, with great prestige in Europe and the United States and was recently awarded, on May 9, 2015, with a Golden Lion at the Venice Art Biennale.
His works are in public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; Museum of Modern Art in New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Indianapolis Museum of Art; British Museum in London; and Centre Pompidou in Paris, among other institutions.
Many of sculptures of El Anatsui have changeable shapes and are designed to be free and flexible so that they adapt visually for each installation. When working with wood, clay, metal and more recently, metal caps of liquor bottles, Anatsui breaks with the traditional membership of the sculpture to fixed forms, although visually reference to the history of abstraction in European and African art. 
Another highlight is the work "Cloud Earth Twist", the Nigerian Bright Ugochukwu Eke. The installation coming to Africa Africans have autobiographical inspiration. After suffering a skin infection caused by a acid rain, Eke developed the work that consists of thousands of plastic bags filled with acidified water. 
The work Eke has been exposed in cities like Durban, Lagos, London, New York and Verona, among others. Bright Eke creates a socially oriented art, exploring the ways in which people interact with their environment. Using water as a theme and a half, he challenges the viewer to think about this precious resource, politically, ethically and ecologically.
MEET THE ARTISTS - The Museu Afro Brazil will hold still, on 26 May, an International Meeting on the exhibition theme, bringing the artists invited to a debate with the public about its production and issues raised by the exhibition and the participants.
It will also be producing a trilingual catalog (Portuguese-English-French) about the exhibition, the fashion shows and the seminar.


Colonial Arrangements, Morris-Jumel Mansion, New York

May - August 2015

Elaborate, colorful, seductive and quizzical, Yinka Shonibare’s renowned, textile-based art has been the focus of more than 50 solo museum and gallery exhibitions worldwide. The latest, Colonial Arrangements, will take place, from April to August 2015, at Morris-Jumel Mansion. It’s a fitting match, with the Mansion’s lovingly preserved 18th- and 19th-century interiors set to serve as a baroque backdrop for Shonibare’s Shonibare’s extraordinary, quizzical sculpture, including an entirely new, never-before-seen work, commissioned by the Mansion. It’s the most ambitious art show in Morris-Jumel history, and it kicks off May 1st with an opening night reception. The reception is free, though reservations are required.

Morris-Jumel Mansion 


Pièces de résistance, DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal

28 April - 20 September, 2015

Shonibare has become known worldwide for his use of Dutch-wax fabric as a conceptual and formal device in all of his work. While stereotypically associated with Africa, the origins of Dutch-wax fabric are actually found in Indonesian batik techniques, which were then industrialized and appropriated by European interests. With its mixed and mistaken provenances, Dutch-wax fabric provides a sumptuous yet probing vehicle to evoke the complexity of concepts such as identity, authenticity, ethnicity, representation, hybridity, race, class, migration, globalization, and power.

Yinka Shonibare MBE employs a multiplicity of strategies, including auto-ethnography and humour in combination with art historical and literary references, to deliver a body of work that is simultaneously seductive and subversive. His critical reflection on power relations between Africa and Europe is delivered through a formal treatment that is both lavish and decadent. In a related area of investigation, he reveals his affection and respect for British culture and institutions while simultaneously questioning class and privilege. It is this ambivalence that most productively unsettles simple binaries and reveals the intricacies involved in negotiating his subject matter.

In 2005, Shonibare was awarded the decoration of Member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” (MBE). While other Black British artists have turned down this distinction, this acronym has been officially added to his professional name as it underscores the tensions that emerge through his work in regards to the experience of being at once inside and outside, of belonging and of marginalization.



Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture comes to Howick Place, Victoria

24 February 2014

A striking, site-specific sculpture by internationally-renowned artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE has been given the green light by Westminster Council, as part of Howick Place in Victoria, London.

Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate and Terrace Hill, the joint developers behind the new landmark building at 1-5 Howick Place, commissioned Wind Sculpture through art consultants HS Projects. It is expected to be installed in Wilcox Place this spring and will serve as an integral part of the area’s development, which is rapidly becoming Victoria’s vibrant new ‘cultural quarter’.

Wind Sculpture, measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, will explore the notion of harnessing movement, through the idea of capturing and freezing a volume of wind in a moment in time. The work will echo the sails from his Fourth Plinth commission in Trafalgar Square, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, now on permanent display outside the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

The captivating piece will have special resonance at Howick Place, named after Viscount Howick, later 2nd Earl Grey, one of the main architects of the Reform Act 1832, Catholic emancipation and the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. Wind Sculpture continues Shonibare’s focus on themes of colonialism, trade, and race and will employ the artist’s signature use of batik Dutch wax fabric designs - materials which have become synonymous with African identity.

Designed by award winning architects Rolfe Judd, Howick Place is architecturally stunning and includes just over 143,000 sq ft of commercial space and 23 luxury residential apartments, with spacious terraces offering expansive views over London’s most iconic sights. Situated midway between the fashion centres of Bond Street and Sloane Street, Howick Place is also recognised as a sought-after destination among a community of stylish tenants. It has already attracted the Head Office of Giorgio Armani S.p.A, to 5 Howick Place, with international auction house Phillips, the design studio of Marc Newson and HQ’s of luxury brands Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo – with Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Moët Hennessy and Richemont a stone’s throw away. Reflecting this sense of art and culture, Wind Sculpture, is the developers’ contribution to the ongoing renaissance of the area.


Globe Head Ballerina
Globe Head Ballerina
2012 Yinka Shonibare MBE

Yinka Shonibare Globe Head Ballerina

Yinka Shonibare's Globe Head Ballerina modelled on The Royal Ballet's Melissa Hamilton.

A unique artwork by Yinka Shonibare, Globe Head Ballerina is the latest public sculpture by the artist. This piece is a life size work based on a photograph of ballerina Margot Fonteyn. Typical of Shonibare’s previous work, the costume is made of African Dutch wax fabric and the dancer has a Victorian-style globe as her head. Encased within a large snow globe style sphere the ballerina rotates on Pointe. 


Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Fibreglass, steel, brass, resin, UV ink on printed cotton textile, linen rigging, acrylic and wood
Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, Fibreglass, steel, brass, resin, UV ink on printed cotton textile, linen rigging, acrylic and wood

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle

at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare MBE is a 1:30 replica of Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, on which he died during the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. It has 80 cannon and 37 sails set as on the day of battle. The richly patterned sails were inspired by Indonesian batik, mass-produced by Dutch traders and sold in West Africa. Today these designs are associated with African dress and identity. The characteristic bright colours and abstract symmetries of Dutch Wax fabric have accrued many complex, often ambivalent associations – with colonialism, industrialisation, emigration, cultural appropriation, and the invention (and reinvention) of tradition – all of which are foregrounded in Shonibare’s work. Used for the rigging of Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, the legacy of Dutch Wax assumes a further, distinctly maritime significance. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, the same year in which he was awarded an MBE (an appellation that he uses when exhibiting and signing works).

Currently on permanent display at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London


To look at previous exhibitions see Press

©2015. All images are property of Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA). Original Website by Moira Stevenson. Website Updated and Maintained by Adam Thornton.