Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)


The Human Factor at The Hayward Gallery

Tuesday 17 June - Sunday 07 September 2014

International artists confront the question of how we represent the 'human' today.

The Human Factor surveys how artists over the past 25 years have reinvented figurative sculpture, looking back to earlier movements in art history and drawing on contemporary imagery.

The artists engage in dialogues with modernist, classical and archaic models of art.

Across their work, the figure is a catalyst for exploring concerns from political violence and mortality to sexuality and voyeurism.

The exhibition will feature works by over 20 leading international artists including Pawel Althamer, Frank Benson, Huma Bhabha, Katharina Fritsch, Ryan Gander, Rachel Harrison, Georg Herold, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, John Miller, Cady Noland, Ugo Rondinone, Yinka Shonibare, Thomas Schütte, Paloma Varga Weisz, Rebecca Warren, Andro Wekua and Cathy Wilkes.


'Progress' at The Foundling Museum, London

06 June 2014 - 07 September 2014

To mark the 250th anniversary of Hogarth’s death, Progress brings together for the first time three great contemporary responses to his eternally modern moral tale, A Rake’s Progress.  David Hockney’s A Rake’s Progress, 1961-3, Yinka Shonibare MBE’s Diary of a Victorian Dandy, 1998, and Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences, 2012, are shown alongside Hogarth’s original 1735 prints and joined by a newly commissioned work by Jessie Brennan.

Hogarth’s popularity with both artists and the public has endured for over two hundred years, and his work has provided inspiration to successive generations. Hockney, Shonibare and Perry not only update Hogarth’s searing social commentary, they also add their own personal concerns to the creative dialogue. Commissioning an emerging female artist to respond to Hogarth’s work, the Foundling Museum further develops the conversation.

Exploring issues of sexuality, race, class, vice, temptation, youth and urban living this exhibition both highlights Hogarth’s continuing relevance and allows us to consider the idea of ‘progress’.





MCA Chicago Plaza Project: Yinka Shonibare MBE

16 June 2014 – October 2014

London-based artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE (British, b. 1962) has spent various parts of his life in England and Nigeria—two countries with a long, complex relationship. Born in England, but raised in Lagos in the wake of Nigeria’s independence, Shonibare has been influenced by his personal experiences in a newly liberated nation and its former colonial ruler, calling himself a “postcolonial hybrid.” Yet his wide-ranging works—including photography, sculpture, film, installation, and performance—explore and question, more universally, the construction of cultural and national identity in a globalized society.

Shonibare is best known for his installations of headless mannequins dressed in clothing made out of Dutch wax fabrics—or “African” batik. Although these colorful fabrics in vibrant patterns have become a sign of cultural pride and identity for Africans, they are a colonial invention, having been mass-produced in Southeast Asia, and exported by the Netherlands since the mid-nineteenth century. This type of fabric intrigues Shonibare because it is simultaneously a fully manufactured and an authentic sign of “Africanness.” In his cross-cultural investigations, Shonibare often examines moments in Western art history, especially the rococo and Victorian periods, that correspond with the early days of transatlantic maritime trade.

Shonibare’s MCA Plaza installation includes three sculptures from his new Wind Series. Nearly twenty feet high, each sculpture captures the movement of a billowing bolt of fabric. Their design was inspired by the sails of ships whose patterns derived from Dutch wax fabrics. The artist chooses these iconic fabrics to exemplify how signs of national or ethnic identity are culturally constructed.

Shonibare’s installation is the fourth MCA Plaza Project. The series previously featured work by Amanda Ross-Ho (2013), Martin Creed (2012), and Mark Handforth (2011). Shonibare’s work is also included in the exhibition Earthly Delights (June 28–November 30, 2014).

This exhibition is organized by Naomi Beckwith, Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.




Yinka Shonibare : 'Egg Fight' at Fondation Blachère, France

23 May - 20 September 2014

 This summer, Fondation Blachère, Apt, France, is presenting a solo exhibition and new light installation by Yinka Shonibare MBE RA. The exhibition takes its cue from Shonibare’s installation Egg Fight (2009) recently acquired by Fondation Blachère. Inspired by Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver Travels, the piece is a satirical staging of the divisions between Protestants and Catholics through the argument over which end of a boiled egg should be broken, the large or small end. This work reflects Shonibare’s interest in addressing conflicting ideologies observed in culture, politics and society.
While in Egg Fight, the two figures prepare to antagonise one another, ballerinas Odile and Odette (2005-2006) engage in a synchronised silent choreography performed in the dual spaces of the dancer and her ‘reflection’. Conceived in collaboration with the Royal Opera House, London, Shonibare's interpretation pushes Odile’s evil impersonation of Odette in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by highlighting the multilayered dichotomy between evil and good, dark and light, and their implicit association to skin colour.
Also included in the exhibition is the emblematic sculptural installation The Crowning drawing from Jean-Honoré Fragonard and displayed at Musée du Quai Branly, Paris in 2007. Both this piece and the mural installation Little Rich Girls (2010), create a link between leisure, wealth, pleasure, and the slave and colonial systems that contributed to sustain the privileges of the bourgeoisie.
Other pieces on show will include Revolution Kid (Calf) (2013), the Fake Death series (2011), and Climate Shit Drawing (2008-2009) lent by various institutions, galleries and private collections. In addition, a four-meter Victorian light dress conceived in collaboration with Blachère Illumination will be exhibited in the fondation’s garden.
This exhibition is organised by Fondation Blachère in collaboration with Stephen Friedman Gallery.
23 May – 20 September 2014
Centre d’Art de la Fondation Blachère
384, Avenue des Argiles / Zone Industrielle les Bourguignons
84400 Apt
TEL: +33(0)4 32 52 06 15

Website: www.fondationblachere.org




Yinka Shonibare MBE : Cannonball Paradise at Gerisch Stiftung Sculpture Park in Neumünster, Germany

27 April 2014 - 19 September 2014

At the end of April a large exhibition of the works of Yinka Shonibare MBE (born in 1962) opens at Herbert Gerisch Foundation. ‘Cannonball Paradise’ is Shonibare’s first large-scale solo exhibition at a German art institution and comprises around 20 installations, photographic works and videos. The artist, who grew up in Nigeria and now lives in London, achieved his full international breakthrough with his participation in documenta 11 in 2002. Further larger solo exhibitions followed at institutions including the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and Tate Britain in London.

A trademark of Shonibare’s work are figures wearing wax print clothes which appear almost Baroque. The wax print patterns conjure up visions of an exotic Africa. Put in positions that are provocative, these often headless figures form a bizarre scene in which the artist plays with stereotypes of race, class and culture. However, it would be too reductionist to limit Shonibare’s artistic approach to simply questioning post-colonial views on history. His works are also imbued with a sense of humour and exuberant narrative joy. Brightly coloured fabric bullets fly out of gun barrels and a headless Eve tempts Adam in a colourfully patterned African costume. This pairing of joie de vivre with self- critical reflection on the history that links Africa and Europe makes Shonibare’s art hugely attractive.

Yinka Shonibare MBE is the second artist of African origin after Romuald Hazoumè (2011) to be invited by Herbert Gerisch Foundation to exhibit. And just like Hazoumè, Shonibare has been asked to stage a large solo exhibition on African perceptions of paradise. The background to all this is the Foundation’s landscaped park which is based on an Arcadian and idyllic tradition. This becomes particularly apparent when it comes to the vibrantly multi-coloured, six metre high ‘Wind Sculpture’ in the Gerisch Foundation sculpture park, which Shonibare produced specifically for this exhibition. It is as if a huge wax print cloth were fluttering across the lawn. This type of cloth is a symbol of Africa in many of Shonibare’s works and can only be understood within the context of colonial history. Political and cultural realities are thus broken, reflected and made topical on many different levels against a paradisiacal setting.


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

©2014. All images are property of Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA). Original Website by Moira Stevenson. Website Updated and Maintained by Adam Thornton.