Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)


Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon 2021

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA was honoured on 22 March 2021

Whitechapel Gallery is pleased to announce that Yinka Shonibare CBE RA(b. 1962, UK) is the eighth artist to receive the prestigious annual Art Icon award, generously supported by the Swarovski Foundation. On Monday 22 March 2021, the award was presented during a virtual gala celebration hosted by Iwona Blazwick OBE (Director, Whitechapel Gallery), and feature an exclusive performance from Angélique Kidjo. To protect the safety and welfare of all attendees, the event will be hosted on a digital platform and will celebrate the Gallery’s continued commitment to youth programmes and educational activities through an evening of live presentations. 

An online silent auction of artworks donated by leading contemporary artists also took place, facilitated by Phillips Auction House. All funds raised will help support Whitechapel Gallery’s programme, in particular its work with thousands of children and young people each year.

Iwona Blazwick said: “Yinka Shonibare is a truly exceptional artist and is an exemplary Art Icon. His vividly clothed figurative sculptures, the Hogarthian scenarios he creates as installations and photographs, and his beautiful films celebrate African culture while exposing the legacies of race and empire. Globally celebrated Shonibare also supports younger generations of artists in Britain and Africa; both his artistic legacy and his charitable initiatives will resonate for years to come.”


Fire Kid (Girl), 2020
Fire Kid (Girl), 2020
Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, globe, brass, steel baseplate, artificial tree, detachable branch, detachable hands with book 55 7/8 x 39 3/4 x 37 3/8 in 142 x 101 x 95 cm

Yinka Shonibare CBE Earth Kids

Solo exhibition at James Cohan Gallery New York

4 December 2020 -  23 January 2021

Earth Kids

“The wild is far from unlimited. It is finite. It needs protecting.” - David Attenborough 

James Cohan is pleased to present Earth Kids, an exhibition of new sculptures by Yinka Shonibare CBE. 

In Earth Kids, Shonibare makes a connection between the history of colonial domination and humankind’s domination of the natural world and the exploitation of its limited resources. The quartet of child-scaled sculptures champions the next generation of environmentalists fighting for climate justice—including young activists, such as Greta Thunberg—who have thrown a spotlight on the failings of previous generations of policymakers. These works, Shonibare states, are a call to action to protect the planet for our children.

Each of the four sculptures in Earth Kids represents an elemental force: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. These classical elements were believed by the Ancient Greeks to illustrate the complexity of the natural world. The artist has been making work about the elements and climate change since 2008 when he created a series called Globe Children in which children were precariously balanced on a large heat-map globe. 


Addio del Passato, 2011
Addio del Passato, 2011
Digital video, colour and sound Duration: 16:52 min Photographer credit, image courtesy: Courtesy the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and James Cohan Gallery, New York

Yinka Shonibare: Radical Hybridity

25 August – 11 October 2020

M WOODS is proud to première two by film works by Yinka Shonibare in their Temple Galleries

Yinka Shonibare CBE, who was awarded the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2019, has spent three decades exploring the European colonial impact on African identities and their diasporas. Rather than taking a fixed position on visual identity and cultural representation, Shonibare opens up a space of cultural hybridity and duality in his practice.

The films are shown within the museum’s specially reconstructed Ming dynasty temples that were originally built on the museum’s current site in 1452 by the Jingtai Emperor of the Ming dynasty. These temples were the only ones in the city to accommodate both lamas and monks.

Visitors are invited to view Shonibare’s films Odile and Odette (2005) and Addio del Passato (2011) within this unique setting and context of the rebuilt temples, thus combining tradition, Chinese history and contemporary art. The period during which the temples were built was also itself a significant one in terms of cultural migration and cross-pollination in a Chinese context.

This première also marks the first project in a new series of programming and initiatives at M WOODS that will reconsider aspects of post-colonial theory, diasporic knowledge and Black intellectual thought in the context of China and East Asia. 



Justice for All, 2019
Justice for All, 2019
Sculpture (including baseplate): 232 x 206 x 60 cm Fibreglass sculpture, hand-painted with Dutch wax pattern, bespoke hand-coloured globe, steel baseplate, detachable sword and detachable scales. Photographer credit, image courtesy: Courtesy the artist a

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA: “Justice for All”

The Arts House (the Old Parliament House), Singapore

Exhibited 13 – 31 January 2020

The Asian Art Institutum, together with The Arts House and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, are proud to present Justice for All, an immersive, site-specific installation by acclaimed British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA. The exhibition has been curated by Dr Zehra Jumabhoy, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, to coincide with Singapore Art Week and the Singapore Biennale 2020. Shonibare’s work will reference the venue’s own morphing heritage. In 1827, the building was rented by British colonial authorities for use as a courthouse, later it was turned into the Legislative Assembly. Finally, it was here that Singapore’s first parliamentary session as a newly independent nation was opened in 1965 by then-President Yusof bin Ishak.

Shonibare’s monumental sculptural installation re-configures British sculptor F.W. Pomeroy’s Lady Justice (1905-1906), which stands upon the dome of London’s imposing Central Criminal Court (otherwise known as The Old Bailey). Instead of her habitual golden garb, Shonibare’s Singaporean Lady Justice is depicted wearing a brightly patterned, ankle-length garment, apparently fashioned from ‘African’ batik. With both hands outstretched, Lady Justice wields a sword in her right hand and balances the scales of justice in her left. In place of a head, she sports a hand-painted globe, featuring a map of the world. Shonibare’s oeuvre investigates notions of imperialist authority and power. Discussing the work with Dr Jumabhoy, the artist explains, “I was thinking about the idea of justice: Singapore itself is a very multi-cultural place. And I wanted a Justice figure that would be there to serve a wide range of the population; the different types of people in Singapore.” Seducing us with its colour and beauty, Shonibare re-interprets Lady Justice for an interior setting, whilst retaining the dramatic impact of the original, iconic public sculpture.

Exploring cultural and racial identity, colonialism and post-colonialism, Shonibare is best known for his figurative sculptures clad in Victorian costumes made from Dutch wax batik, such as Vlisco. These patterns allude to the Dutch East India Company (also known as Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC), which manufactured the fabric and sold it to the African market in the 19th century. In the 1960s, the fabric began to be feted as a marker of ‘authentic African identity’ and was the favoured attire of anti-colonial nationalists. Yet, Shonibare’s work deliberately undercuts ideas of authenticity and essentialism. His site-specific commission for Singapore does this with a South-East Asian twist. Lady Justice’s dress is transformed with the artist’s uniquely designed signature Dutch wax batik patterns. However, her body is painted over with a motif gleaned from Javanese batik – the so-called ‘original’ inspiration for the ‘African’ prints. Javanese batik patterns were hybrid motifs; influenced by trade relations between the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, India and China. Identity, Shonibare’s work shows us, is never fixed; it is invariably multi-cultural. Shonibare notes, “I started using batik in my work to explore the relationship between Africa, Europe and Asia. I take icons of colonial power and I deconstruct them.” In Singapore’s Old Parliament House, Lady Justice comes full-cycle: once an emblem of colonial dominance, she becomes a cipher for trade, global exchange and the spirit of a multi-racial Singapore. The globe which replaces the head of Lady Justice symbolises how (in Shonibare’s words) “she is a figure in which the aspirations of all the different people are embodied.”


The American Library, 2018
The American Library, 2018
Installation view of "When Home won’t let you stay" 2019-2020, ICA Boston/United States Photographer credit, image courtesy: Courtesy of the artist and ICA Boston. Photographer: Reena Saini Kallat

When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art

International artists respond to the migration, immigration, and displacement of peoples today, in works ranging from personal accounts to poetic meditations.

International artists respond to the migration, immigration, and displacement of peoples today, in works ranging from personal accounts to poetic meditations. 
ICA Boston - Oct 23, 2019 – Jan 26, 2020

When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art considers how contemporary artists are responding to the migration, immigration, and displacement of peoples today. We are currently witnessing the highest levels of movement on record—the United Nations estimates that one out of every seven people in the world is an international or internal migrant who moves by choice or by force, with great success or great struggle. When Home Won’t Let You Stay borrows its title from a poem by Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet who gives voice to the experiences of refugees. Through artworks made since 2000 by twenty artists from more than a dozen countries — such as Colombia, Cuba, France, India, Iraq, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestine, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States — this exhibition highlights diverse artistic responses to migration ranging from personal accounts to poetic meditations and features a range of mediums, including sculpture, installation, painting, and video.

Artists in the exhibition include Kader Attia, Tania Bruguera, Isaac Julien, Hayv Kahraman, Reena Saini Kallat, Richard Mosse, Carlos Motta, Yinka Shonibare, Xaviera Simmons, and Do-Ho Suh, among others. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition, with an essay by Eva Respini and Ruth Erickson and texts by prominent scholars Aruna D’Souza, Okwui Enwezor, Thomas Keenan, Peggy Levitt, and Uday Singh Mehta, among others. 


Installation view of "Child on Unicycle," 2005
Installation view of "Child on Unicycle," 2005


2 March - 29 September 2019

A Tale of Today: Yinka Shonibare CBE is the inaugural exhibition in the Driehaus Museum’s new contemporary art programme, aimed to explore the contrasts and connections between the Gilded Age and the present.

The exhibitions take its name from The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today, the 1873 book by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner that originally coined the phrase that subsequently became the name for this period in American history.

The exhibitionis built around four sculptural installations and two photography series, that will be installed throughout the Museum’s “home,” the Nickerson Mansion—renowned as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace”. The installation will, in part, engage with the mansion’s own history, to better highlight the different questions about class, race, and status that are so integral to the exhibited works.

“Yinka Shonibare is an artist who draws on history, politics, and fashion to explore and critique our understanding of the past with equal doses of humor, irony, and theatrics,” — Richard P. Townsend, the Museum’s director. “Our hope with this exhibition, and its companion programs, is to engage audiences in thinking about the past through a new frame of reference—one that is also relevant to understanding the challenges our society faces today.”


Website: driehausmuseum.org


"The African Library," 2018
"The African Library," 2018

“Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE” at Norval Foundation, Cape Town

Monday 13 February – Monday 26 August 2019

Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE brings together a series of artworks, including sculptures, photographs and a major installation, created between 2008 and 2018, which are connected through their use of Dutch Wax fabric.

The exhibition takes as its starting point an appreciation for the fabric’s materiality and the conceptual as well as historical meanings associated with it and also provides a context for Wind Sculpture (SG) III (2018), which has recently been acquired by Norval Foundation, and permanently installed in the Norval Foundation Sculpture Garden.

At the centre of this exhibition is The African Library (2018), the most recent iteration of the library series venerating first or second-generation immigrants who have shaped a country’s social, political or cultural life. Comprised of approximately 4,900 books covered in Dutch Wax fabric, The African Library broadens the initial concept of the artwork by celebrating the contributions that immigrant and non-immigrant Africans have made to the continent’s independence movements, science, arts and technological innovation, by emblazoning their names in gold along the spines of books.

Alongside The African Library, is the five-part photographic series The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (2008). Drawing upon the eighteenth-century Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s satiric etching of the same name, the works are similarly critical of humanity’s inability to be truly rational. Each of the five photographs relate to a specific continent, acting as personifications of these land masses, yet the ethnicity of the figure in each image confuses traditional expectations of who inhabits a given continent. Two figurative sculptures included in this exhibition, Boy Balancing Knowledge II (2016) and Butterfly Kid (Girl) IV (2017), while playful, nonetheless suggest significant subjects for the next generation: escape from an environmentally compromised planet, and the weight and precariousness of our systems of knowledge.



Creatures of the Mappa Mundi, Mandragora 2018
Creatures of the Mappa Mundi, Mandragora 2018

Yinka Shonibare at Hereford Cathedral: Creatures of the Mappa Mundi

Thursday 24 January – Saturday 1 June 2019

Yinka Shonibare: Creatures of the Mappa Mundi at Hereford Cathedral

Displayed next to the Cathedral’s Chained Library, the Hereford Mappa Mundi is the largest medieval world map to survive. One of its most remarkable features is that it is illustrated with strange people and animals, drawn by artists from the exaggerated descriptions of travellers to far off lands. Shonibare has been inspired by the map and its alien creatures to create a new work for Herefordshire, which will be on show from late January to June 2019.

Illustrated on the map are various creatures, natural and supernatural, including camels, elephants and unicorns. The more human-like creatures are sometimes outrageous in form, for example the Blemmye; a warrior race of people with no heads and facial features in their chests, or the Sciapods, a race with one giant leg and foot each.

Creatures of the Mappa Mundi explores what Shonibare refers to as, “Two of the most pressing concerns of our time, environmental protection and immigration. Inspired by the ability of the Mappa Mundi to still be reflecting our contemporary concerns of fear of the stranger or “other” which often leads to xenophobia. The depictions of extinct creatures of legend are a reminder that we may yet become extinct if we do not take care of our environment.”

The exhibition contains a series of textile works, depicting various creatures and strangers from the map. These new works will feature the vibrant Dutch-wax fabrics that have become iconic of Shonibare’s work. Each piece has been made with the help of different groups of people across the county of Herefordshire, including those linked to disabled people, the homeless and refugees. 

Creatures of the Mappa Mundi will be on display in the Mappa Mundi & Chained Library Exhibition from Thursday 24 January – Saturday 1 June, normal admission charges apply.


Wind Sculpture (SG) I, 2018
Wind Sculpture (SG) I, 2018

Wind Sculpture (SG) I permanently Installed at Davidson College, North Carolina

Yinka Shonibare's Wind Sculpture (SG) I made its New York debut from March 7th - October 14th 2018 at Doris C. Plaza, Central Park. Due to the generous support of Pat Rodgers – the sculpture is now permanently installed at Davidson College in front of the E. Craig Wall Jr. Academic Center. The Wall Center, which Rodgers Builders constructed, not only serves as premier real estate on campus for Shonibare's work, but connects strikingly to the ideas behind the piece and to Rodgers's motivation in bringing it to campus. The center's cross-pollination of physical and social sciences, and humanities underscores Davidson's transdisciplinary emphasis in reimagining the liberal arts experience.

Photograph by Christopher Record


Criminal Ornamentation

Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection

The Arts Council Collection touring exhibition, Criminal Ornamentation opens at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, 21 September-16 December 2018, then tours throughout the UK.

Yinka Shonibare MBE curates a new Arts Council Collection touring exhibition opening at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, this September. Criminal Ornamentation features a number of celebrated artists including Timorous Beasties, Susan Derges, Laura Ford, Ed Lipski, Alexander McQueen, Milena Dragicevic, Lis Rhodes, Bridget Riley, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Caragh Thuring and Bedwyr Williams. Reflective of Yinka’s own practice, this exhibition explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in modern and contemporary art. The title of the show is taken from Adolf Loos' 1908 influential essay 'Ornament and Crime '. In this essay, Loos’ examines the notions of good and bad taste and condemns the use of decoration and craft as an indication of the lowest level of cultural development, to the extent of stating ‘the modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal.’ Yinka Shonibare MBE challenges this notion by saying ‘Adolf Loos was clearly a man of his time in his snobbish revolutionary zeal to abandon ornamentation as he saw it as the pre-occupation of the working classes and degenerates’. 

Included in the exhibition are a range of works that Shonibare has chosen to challenge the notion of the ornament as crime. Shonibare looks to embrace colour, ornament and pattern as a means for social and political expression. Acclaimed artist Bridget Riley, for example, uses geometric patterns and repetition within Ecclesia (1985). Operating as more than bands of colour and stripes; Riley creates new shapes and spaces by changing the viewer’s point of perception. Similarly, Andy Holden’s Totem for Thingly Time, a sculptural piece formed of dripping plaster was made as an attempt to ‘reveal the time of its own construction’. Painter Sean Scully creates an interplay of expansion and restriction through the constant repetition of lines and structures within his work.  

Bedwyr Williams’ The Burn, a shell-encrusted metal BBQ, plays with the idea of ‘kitsch’ - highlighting issues surrounding class, taste and snobbery. These themes are also documented in Ron McCormick’s Man by China Stall; a photograph depicting a man surrounded by decorative pottery that was popular at the time but considered ‘kitsch’ by the elite. These works explore how society’s taste changes over time and examines the crossover between ornaments, craft and art. A number of works in the exhibition suggest the diverse potential of abstract patterns within art. As well as acting as decorative pieces, they explore postcolonialism and the strong connection between individuals and society. Bashir Makhoul’s Zigzag explores the theme of politics through the use of Islamic pattern; the painting questions ‘western capitalism and the Eastern Oil Empire’. Ardyne Point by Caragh Thuring draws inspiration from a local protest at a Scottish oil rig yard, using pattern to create a multitude of opportunities for different interpretations. Comedy is often present throughout the exhibition, Timorous Beasties’ ‘London Toile’ wallpaper, for example, portrays a dark sense of humour in its mismatch between form and content. From a distance the work resembles a traditional chintz pattern, however up close there are many shocking contemporary references including the depiction of a mugging, a seemingly homeless man on a park bench and a recognisable brutalist landmark, the Trellick Tower. Throughout the exhibition, it is possible to see evidence of Yinka Shonibare MBE aiming to break down the boundaries of gender association through the use of pattern and fabric. An embroidered evening dress and a metallic clutch bag by fashion designer Alexander McQueen are placed in Criminal Ornamentation alongside other works, blurring the boundaries between high and low art, cheap and luxurious, craft and art.

Tour details:

Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester - 21 September-16 December 2018
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter - 19 January-16 March 2019
Longside Gallery, Arts Council Collection, Wakefield - 5 April-16 June 2019
Southampton Art Gallery - 28 June-28 September 2019



Yinka Shonibare MBE, Julio-Claudian, A Marble Torso of Emperor, 2018
Yinka Shonibare MBE, Julio-Claudian, A Marble Torso of Emperor, 2018

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Ruins Decorated

Goodman Gallery Johannesburg


Goodman Gallery Johannesburg

Exhibition opening: Saturday 1 September at 18:00.

On view until 10 October 2018.

Ruins Decorated marks Yinka Shonibare’s first solo exhibition with Goodman Gallery, his second solo in South Africa and a rare moment of visibility on the African continent. For this exhibition of new and never before exhibited work, Shonibare asks questions on what it means to forge modern African identities and complicates debates on cultural appropriation.

What I do is create a kind of mongrel. In reality most people’s cultures have evolved out of this mongrelization, but people don’t acknowledge that. – Yinka Shonibare MBE 

For Yinka Shonibare’s second solo exhibition in Africa and his first on the continent in fifteen years, the British-Nigerian artist presents Ruins Decorated – a new body of work which sparks a state of charged curiosity.

Can an historically dominant culture ever empathise with another culture? 

What happens then when former subjects of the British Empire become cultural hybrids themselves? 

To what culture do they show allegiance? 

Can the hybridisation of icons of power be the solution to breaking down binaries required by dictatorship and prejudice?

Through beguiling sculptures, staged photographs and paintings, film and installation, Shonibare considers narratives of power and reinvention in relation to the rise and fall of western empires and the struggles for African Independence.

Part one of the exhibition presents ruined historical symbols of Roman and British Empires embellished in Dutch wax Indonesian Batik / ‘African’ textiles. Shonibare transforms the classical white marble body into colourful sculptures – the decoration of power in the wrong colours. 

‘Some might say the right colours, as the original classical sculptures would have been painted in bright colours’, Shonibare points out. ‘That is before Johann Winchelmann, the 19th century historian, created his fallacy of the superiority of the white classical marble sculpture’.

More questions, and possible solutions, surface:

Can the seemingly ruined be remade in the inclusive colours of the excluded? 

Can the power of collusion and hybridisation create a third ideal which transcends prejudice? 

This exploration of hyphenated or ‘mongrelised’ selves prompts ways for expanding dialogues on cultural ‘appropriation’, teasing out possibilities for re-imagining modern African identities that complicate essentialist constructs of race and nationality. 

Part two of Ruins Decorated juxtaposes Addio Del Passato (2011), a film about a colonial hero’s betrayal of his wife and his eventual decline, alongside a series of photographs in which Admiral Nelson’s death is re-imagined through the depiction of death in historical paintings. Nelson’s demise is re-enacted and his image (donning a uniform made out of ‘African’ textiles) is transformed through its decoration. 

Part three – the sculpture Post-Colonial Globe Man – presents a man wearing Victorian clothes made out of another variation of ‘African’ pattern, balancing precariously on a large globe. The globe shows a map of the British Empire before the first world war. The man’s head is replaced with another globe, depicting a post-colonial map of the world as it looks today.

Part four, The African Library, considers the contributions of people like Kwame Nkrumah and Nelson Mandela to African independence struggles following the second world war. For this installation, 5000 books have been covered in ‘African’ textiles and bear the names of post-independence African presidents and famous Africans in literature, science, music, art, engineering and theatre as well as pro-African Europeans. The African Library is to be presented in this iteration for the first time. 

While the exhibition marks a rare moment of visibility for the artist on the African continent, it also forms part of an increasing momentum to engage with Shonibare’s practice in South Africa, following Addio Del Passato on Zeitz MOCAA’s inaugural exhibition in 2017 and soon to be followed by the Norval Foundation’s exhibition of Wind Sculpture (SG) III in February 2019. 



The American Library

'The American Library' 2018 at Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, July 14 - September 30

The American Library, 2018

Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, July 14 - September 30



The American Library by Yinka Shonibare MBE is a celebration of the diversity of the American population. It aims to be an instigator of discovery and debate. The thousands of books in this art installation are covered in the artist’s signature Dutch wax printed cotton textile. These fabrics were originally based on Indonesian batik textiles, made in the Netherlands and sold in West Africa. Since the 1960s this fabric has been celebrated as a symbol of African identity. The mixed origins of the fabric make it a perfect metaphor for the multicultural identity embedded in the history of the United States.

On the spines of many of these books are, printed in gold, the names of people who immigrated, or whose antecedents immigrated to the United States. On other books are the names of African Americans who relocated or whose parents relocated out of the American South during the Great Migration. These names include W. E. B. Du Bois, Maria Goeppert Mayer, Steve Jobs, Bruce Lee, Ana Mendieta, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, Barack Obama, Steven Spielberg, Carl Stokes, Donald Trump and Tiger Woods. These people have all made a significant contribution to aspects of American life and culture and represent every field from science to activism, music to philosophy and art to literature. Most of these people have also experienced varying degrees of discrimination and hardship during and after their or their family’s relocation. A further set of books within the library features the names of people who have spoken out against immigration, equality or diversity in America.

Through the website included in this installation you can learn more about the reasons for the migration of large groups of people and access content looking at immigration and internal mass migration from pro, anti and neutral viewpoints. Further information about the individuals named on the books is also available on this site.

The American Library is inspired by the ongoing debates about immigration and diversity in the United States, such as the discussion around the travel ban and the proposal to build a wall on the Mexican border to reduce immigration. It also looks at the discrimination against certain groups within the United States, despite their contributions to the country.

This installation asks us to consider what our society would be without the gifts that America’s immigrant populations and minority groups have brought to this land. It represents those seen as the ‘other’ who have made a valuable contribution to the nation’s history. However, it also looks at the people who have spoken out against those they don’t see as ‘truly American’ as a way to further explore these complex issues at the forefront of American life today.

This work was commissioned by Front International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with funds from VIA Art Fund and with the assistance of James Cohan Gallery, New York. It is on display at Cleveland Public Library from July 14 until September 20, 2018.


FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art

FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art is an exhibition comprised of artist commissions, performances, films, and public programs that will launch its inaugural edition in July of 2018. An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, in collaboration with museums, civic institutions, and alternative spaces across Cleveland, Akron and Oberlin, will showcase an ambitious roster of projects, including performance and theater throughout the landscape and built environment. With a roster of national, international and area-based artists at all points in their career, FRONT will examine the ever-changing and politically urgent conditions of an American city.



'Talisman in the Age of Difference' at Stephen Friedman Gallery

5 June - 21 July 2018

Private view
Monday 4 June, 6-8pm


Stephen Friedman Gallery presents the exhibition ‘Talisman in the Age of Difference’ curated by pioneering British artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. This exhibition is a journey of encounters that explores ideas of magic and subversive beauty in work by artists of African origin and across the diaspora and artists who empathise with the spirit of African resistance and representation. Presenting an eclectic and surprising range of works, the exhibition includes painting, sculpture, drawing and other objects from the early twentieth century to the present day. A talisman is thought to possess transformative energy as with a lucky charm, fetish, amulet, mascot, totem, idol or juju. The featured artists transform perception and materials into a form of talisman, a manifestation of protest and difference. The civil rights movement and identity politics are explored by a number of artists here. Others pursue an alternative path in their shared search for originality, spirituality and the sublime. As with his own practice, Shonibare has selected artists who make provocative work that consciously belies a subversive and political message and does not necessarily conform to a western vision of art.

For artists such as Genevieve Gaignard and Deborah Roberts, this is the first time they have shown in the UK. Rebellious, combative themes run through the works of these two artists who shake the foundations of tired, long held beliefs about black identity. The transformation of an everyday material reflects its power to act as a totem
or mascot. Leonardo Drew reconfigures materials into wall-based reliefs which appear to have a magical purpose. Melvin Edwards uses steel to commemorate historical civil rights violations against African Americans, whilst the work of Beauford Delaney, Jacob Lawrence and William Pope. L illustrates the simultaneous complexity and beauty of African American life.

The work of David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Betye Saar is characterised by the transformation of cultural objects into magical, fetishistic assemblages. Similarly, William Kentridge’s powerful work confronts South African politics and history with a lyrical and poetic expressionism. South African born artist Marlene Dumas’ unflinching and emotionally charged portraiture explores sexuality and death. Kehinde Wiley reimagines history to unpack the present: a talismanic alteration of history, where contemporary black bodies are rendered with regal majesty. Zanele Muholi’s portraits of transwomen and non-binary models strikes an empowered note of joy. Similarly, in Samuel Fosso’s photographic self-portraits the artist poses as key historical African figures. Zak Ove and Kendell Geers make sculpture that bridges western art tropes and African cultural references. Jake & Dinos Chapman’s series ‘The Chapman Family Collection’ combines ethnographic artefacts with McDonald’s characters to critique the mechanics of globalisation. Irvin Pascal produces playful self-portraits on wood which evoke historical artefacts. Thomas J Price’s sculptural studies and the painted portraits of Derrick Adams seek to re-position how the black male is perceived.

omare Bearden’s cubist inspired collages, Abe Odedina’s magical paintings on panel, Armand Boua’s scene paintings on cardboard and Jeremiah Quarshie’s hyper-realistic paintings present the black body as authentic and sometimes poetic allegories of everyday life. Hassan Hajjaj’s photographs fuse fashion photography with Moroccan cultural references to unpack perceptions of North Africa. Mickalene Thomas and Lisa Brice question the conventions of beauty, each contesting art historical portrayals of women. Portia Zvavahera’s magical realist paintings are taken from real-life and rendered in exuberant colour. Kara Walker addresses historical wrongdoing, whilst Lubaina Himid, Isaac Julien and Hew Locke examine Britain’s colonial past, just as Larry Achiampong’s series ‘Glyth’ critiques contemporary Britain. Like Shonibare, all of these artists value art as a talisman: a vehicle for change.

At the heart of the exhibition, Shonibare is asking, ‘Can political art truly convey the power of its subject? Can art that is unconventionally beautiful be a form of resistance? ‘Talisman in the Age of Difference’ seeks to answer these questions.


Artist List: Larry Achiampong (British), Derrick Adams (American), Ghada Amer (Egyptian), Benny Andrews (American), Michael Armitage (British / Kenyan), Romare Bearden (American), Armand Boua (Ivorian), Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (Ivorian), Sonia Boyce (British), Lisa Brice (South African), Jake & Dinos Chapman (British), Beauford Delaney (American), Leonardo Drew (American), Marlene Dumas (South African), Melvin Edwards (American), Samuel Fosso (Cameroonian), Genevieve Gaignard (American), Kendell Geers (South African), Hassan Hajjaj (British / Moroccan), David Hammons (American), Lubaina Himid (British), Kudzanai-Violet Hwami (Zimbabwean), Isaac Julien (British), William Kentridge (South African), Abdoulaye Konaté (Malian), Jacob Lawrence (American), Hew Locke (British), Whitfield Lovell (American), Zanele Muholi (South African), Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan), Otobong Nkanga (Nigerian), Abe Odedina (Nigerian), Temitayo Ogunbiyi (American), John Outterbridge (American), Zak Ove (British), Irvin Pascal (British), William Pope L. (American), Thomas J Price (British), Jeremiah Quarshie (Ghanaian), Faith Ringgold (American), Deborah Roberts (American), Betye Saar (American), Zina Saro-Wiwa (Nigerian), Mickalene Thomas (American), Bill Traylor (American), Kara Walker (American), Kehinde Wiley (American), Portia Zvavahera (Zimbabwean).


Gallery Hours
Tuesday to Friday, 10am -- 6pm
and Saturday, 11am -- 5pm




Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I

March 7th 2018 - October 14th 2018 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York.

February 21, 2018, NEW YORK, NY— On March 7, Public Art Fund will present Wind Sculpture (SG) I, a new sculpture by Yinka Shonibare MBE commissioned for Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park. Created from fiberglass and covered with an intricate pattern, the 23-foot-tall sculpture will rise above the plaza, reminiscent of the untethered sail of a ship billowing in the breeze. Its unique, hand-painted pattern in turquoise, red, and orange — colours that the artist associates with his childhood on the beaches of Lagos — is inspired by Dutch wax batik print, which Shonibare has called the “perfect metaphor for multilayered identities”. This is the first work in a second generation of his celebrated Wind Sculpture series and continues Shonibare’s ongoing examination of the construction of cultural identity through the lens of colonialism. The work will create an opportunity to reflect on social issues associated with our current moment, including the movement of people and ideas across borders and the role of monuments in heterogeneous societies. Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I will be on view March 7 – October 14, 2018 in Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park.

“Monumental in scale and imposingly sited on axis with the entrance to Central Park, Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture (SG) I assumes the aspect of a classical civic monument. However, its lithe and undulating form and its vibrant, colorful surface suggest a very different approach,” says Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “This is one of his most abstract works, yet it still tells a story. Its patterned, fluttering sail suggests the geographical, cultural, and personal layers of a migration borne aloft on the cross currents of colonial history.”

Shonibare has described himself as a post-colonial hybrid, and his work in painting, sculpture, photography, film, and performance utilizes unexpected combinations of pattern and form to examine race, class, migration, and identity in a globalized world. The form of Wind Sculpture (SG) I suggests the movement of wind and natural elements rendered three-dimensionally through fabric, but also the sail of a ship, which for centuries was the only means of traversing oceans to exchange culture and ideas. The patterns on the surface are borrowed from vibrant batik textiles, which Shonibare has utilized in many forms and mediums and are often associated with European colonization of West Africa. However, these fabrics have a complicated history and came to the African continent by way of Indonesia through Dutch colonization in the 1800s. Today, these fabrics are still manufactured in the Netherlands, and sold and worn throughout West Africa. With Wind Sculpture (SG) I, Shonibare uses fabric as an entry point to rethink history and meaning and the relationship between Europe and Africa; it presents a story of shifting design and culture that also speaks to the confluence of many identities in public spaces.

In 2013, Shonibare first started working with fiberglass in a large-scale format beginning with the first generation of Wind Sculpture I-VII. Wind Sculpture VII was installed permanently outside the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in 2016. This transition to a second generation of sculptures includes a design of increased size and complexity, featuring multiple twists and deeper folds in the structure.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Yinka Shonibare MBE will give a Public Art Fund Talk in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School on March 5 where he will discuss his new work as it relates to his art practice and working in public space.
The exhibition is curated by Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. 



MetFridays: An Evening with Yinka Shonibare

Friday 9th March 2018

On Friday 9 March, Yinka Shonibare will be discussing his career, committed to exploring contemporary African identity with Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem. 

More details: https://metmuseum.org/events/programs/met-speaks/free-lectures/yinka-shonibare




Yinka Shonibare MBE: Talks at The New School

In Conversation with Nicholas Baume, Director of Public Art Fund at the New Art School, New York

Monday 5th March, 6.30pm : The New Art School, 63 Fifth Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets

Yinka Shonibare’s talk at The New School accompanies Public Art Fund’s upcoming exhibition, Wind Sculpture (SG) I, a new sculpture commissioned for Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the southeast entrance to Central Park. Created from fiberglass and covered with an intricate pattern, the 23-foot-tall sculpture will rise above the plaza, reminiscent of the untethered sail of a ship billowing in the breeze. Its unique, hand-painted pattern in turquoise, red, and orange — colors that the artist associates with his childhood on the beaches of Lagos — is inspired by Dutch wax batik print, which Shonibare has called the “perfect metaphor for multilayered identities”. This is the first work in a second generation of his celebrated Wind Sculpture series and continues Shonibare’s ongoing examination of the construction of cultural identity through the lens of colonialism. Wind Sculpture (SG) I will be on view March 7 – October 14, 2018 at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park. 

For the Public Art Fund Talk at The New School, Shonibare will be in conversation with Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, who organized Wind Sculpture (SG) I.




Venus Presenting Helen to Paris (with Townley Venus), 2017
Venus Presenting Helen to Paris (with Townley Venus), 2017
Virtual Reality Presentation Courtesy of the artist and Happy Finish London Image courtesy: Happy Finish London

From Life

11th December – 11th March 2018 at The Royal Academy of Arts

From Life

The Royal Academy of Arts presents From Life, a special exhibition project taking place across two distinct spaces: the Sackler Wing of Galleries and the Tennant Gallery. From Life examines what making art from life has meant to artists throughout history and how the practice is evolving as technology opens up new ways of creating and visualising artwork.

Drawing from casts of Classical and Renaissance sculpture and life models was long considered essential training for any aspiring artist, and was once a staple of the RA Schools, Britain’s longest established fine art school. Beginning with a display of historic paintings and works on paper drawn from the RA Collection, From Life explores the practice of life drawing, from the origins of the Royal Academy in the 18th century to the present day, whilst also looking to the future. Historic paintings by artists such as Johann Zoffany are followed by works in a diverse range of media by contemporary artists, including Jeremy Deller’s Iggy Pop Life Class (2016), Cai Guo-Qiang’s film One Thousand Youngsters Drawing David (2010)and Jenny Saville’s Entry (2004).  From Life also presents work by Royal Academicians who continue to interrogate the practice of working from life, among them Antony Gormley, Chantal Joffe, Michael Landy and Gillian Wearing.

For the first time the Royal Academy is working with artists exploring emerging technologies, which presents them with new ways to both observe and represent themselves and the world around them. Farshid Moussavi RA, Humphrey Ocean RA, Yinka Shonibare RA and Jonathan Yeo have experimented with virtual reality technologies, creating new artwork for the exhibition using virtual reality platform HTC Vive and artistic software programmes, including Google's Tilt Brush and MakeVR Pro. Farshid Moussavi’s VR experience transports visitors into masterpieces of ecclesiastical architecture, which they can adapt and transform themselves, while creative technology and content studio Happy Finish have worked with Yinka Shonibare to develop a three-dimensional rendering of a neo-classical painting, featuring a cast of Venus dressed in Shonibare’s trademark batik fabric. Meanwhile, Humphrey Ocean invites audiences to create their own three-dimensional sketches within a playful virtual environment centred on the artist’s fascination with chairs.

From Life reveals the creative process in making these new artworks, as well as opening up the exciting potential of future artistic applications of virtual reality. HTC Vive has supported the development of these works, which will also be available for audiences to experience at home on Viveport, HTC’s global VR app store. Google Arts & Culture is working with artist Jonathan Yeo to create the first physical free-standing sculpture in metal made by using Tilt Brush. The visitors’ experience of the virtual reality element within the exhibition will depend on availability. As each virtual reality artwork can only be experienced individually, access cannot be guaranteed.

Tim Marlow, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts said: “This is an experimental project that explores everything from artistic process to technological evolution and creative collaboration. In a sense, From Life embodies what an artist-run academy was, is and might become.”

Sky Arts have commissioned immersive content studio Factory 42 to produce a documentary entitled Virtual Reality: Mystery of Creativity, which explores creating art in a virtual environment and how artists use these cutting-edge technologies to explore the limits of traditional artistic methods. There are also a series of short films across the Royal Academy’s online platforms, as well as available via the Sky VR and Google Arts & Culture apps.

250 free life drawing experiences for 250 years: To coincide with From Life and as part of the 250th anniversary celebrations in 2018, the Royal Academy is offering free life drawing classes for 250 people of all abilities in the historic Life Room in the RA Schools. Each class is for a particular group that has a special relationship with either the RA, drawing, or the human body, from members of the Royal Academy’s outreach programmes to nurses and architects. The guest tutors will not be revealed until the life drawing class begins. The project will be documented by online features and videos. 



From Life is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The exhibition is curated by Adrian Locke, Royal Academy of Arts. 


Dates and Opening Hours

Open to public: 11 December 2017 – 11 March 2018

10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm)

Late night opening:Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)


Mobility Unlimited Challenge

Toyota Mobility Foundation & Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre

Toyota Mobility Foundation & Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre launch a multi-million dollar challenge to expand mobility across the globe for people with lower-limb paralysis. Mobility Unlimited Challenge will reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge is seeking teams around the world to create game-changing technology that will help radically improve the mobility and independence of people with paralysis.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge aims to harness creative thinking from across the world to accelerate innovation and encourage collaboration with users to find winning devices to transform the world for people with lower-limb paralysis. The Challenge will reward the development of personal mobility devices incorporating intelligent systems.

The mobility solutions of the future could include anything from exoskeletons to artificial intelligence and machine learning, from cloud computing to batteries. Around the world, millions of people have lower-limb paralysis (the most common causes being strokes, spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis). While there are no statistics on paralysis worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates there are 250,000-500,000 new cases of spinal cord injury globally every year.

Innovation in “smarter” mobility technology has the potential to create personal devices that are better integrated with the user’s body and the environment. But the application of this groundbreaking technology is slow due to disincentives such as small and fragmented markets, regulatory burdens, and reimbursement complexities from healthcare systems and insurers. This can make the field unattractive to small or new entrants, and prevent innovative solutions by existing innovators from getting to market. Even though huge advances have been made in improving travel between places, innovation in everyday functionality still lags behind.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge Prize is supported by a number of ambassadors from around the world, all of whom have experience of living with lower-limb paralysis. Global ambassadors include: Aki Taguchi, Director, Paralympian Association of Japan; August de los Reyes, Head of Design at Pinterest; Indian athlete and campaigner Preethi Srinivasan; Dr Rory A Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh; Sandra Khumalo, South African rower; Sophie Morgan, British TV presenter; US track & field athlete Tatyana McFadden; and Yinka Shonibare MBE, Turner-Prize nominated British/Nigerian artist. 

Charlotte Macken of Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre commented:
“Challenge Prizes are a way to make innovation happen. The Mobility Unlimited Challenge is about the freedom to move. It will support innovators, creating cutting-edge personal mobility devices incorporating smart technology and intelligent systems that will transform people’s lives." A panel of expert judges will pick five finalists who will each receive $500,000 to take their concepts from an intelligent insight to a prototype. The Challenge winner will receive $1,000,000 to make the device available to users- with the winning concept unveiled in Tokyo in 2020.

The Mobility Unlimited Challenge aims to attract and support smaller innovators who might otherwise struggle to break into the assistive technology market. The Discovery Awards will provide seed funding of $50,000 for 10 groups with promising concepts, but who might otherwise lack the resources to enter the Challenge. Interested innovators can apply online at mobilityunlimited.org. Building on universal design principles to create a more equitable environment, entries for the Mobility Unlimited Challenge will be user-centered. The Challenge will be a catalyst for innovation through co-creation with the people around the world who will benefit most from the solutions discovered by our entrants.

At the end of the Mobility Unlimited Challenge, the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre will have supported teams of innovators in creating leading-edge technological solutions, opening a new chapter in personal mobility for people with lower-limb paralysis. 




The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

30th June - 20th August, 2017

The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition - Yinka Shonibare's Exhibited Work's and details on his curated room.

In addition to exhibiting his 'Wind Sculpture VI' in the Royal Academy Courtyard, his figurative scultpure 'Venus de' Medici' 2017 in room VI, his two paintings 'Angel (Red)', 2016 in the Central Hall and 'Angel (Turquoise)', 2016 in room III, and his screenprint 'Ballet Africa', 2017 in the Lecture Room, Yinka Shonibare has also curated room VI for this years Summer Exhibition.

Shonibare sought to spotlight diversity in this year's Summer Exhibition, inviting artists from a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds to show works. Although new to the Royal Academy, some are well established elsewhere, while others are emerging artists at the start of their careers, seeking languages that are relevant to their individual circumstances. Shonibare showcases works by artists such as Hassan Hajjaj, Tomoaki Suzuki, Abe Odedina, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, Samson Kambalu, and many more..

"Almost 250 years ago, the RA’s founding members agreed to hold an “Annual Exhibition of Paintings, Sculptures and Designs … open to all Artists”, to help finance the training of young artists in the Royal Academy Schools. Now, nearly 250 years later, ahead of our big anniversary in 2018, Royal Academician Eileen Cooper, explores themes of discovery and new talent from her unique position as Keeper of the Royal Academy – the Academician who is responsible for supporting and guiding the students. 

Cooper takes on the mantle of coordinating the largest open submission exhibition in the world, hanging over 1,200 works by artists established and lesser-known in the space of just eight days. Don’t miss work by internationally renowned artists Rosemarie Trockel, Julian Schnabel, Hassan Hajjaj, Secundino Hernández, Isaac Julien, Tomoaki Suzuki, Mark Wallinger and Sean Scully RA, as well as submissions by new Royal Academicians including Gilbert & George and David Adjaye. Other highlights include Yinka Shonibare RA’s six metre high colourful wind sculpture in the RA Courtyard, and Farshid Moussavi RA’s unique focus on construction coordination drawings in the Architecture Gallery."



'Wind Sculpture VI' 2014
'Wind Sculpture VI' 2014
Image Courtesy of Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Photographer: Stephen White
'Winged Victory of Samothrace', 2017
'Winged Victory of Samothrace', 2017
Image Courtesy of Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Photographer: Stephen White
Room VI - Yinka Shonibare's Curated Room
Room VI - Yinka Shonibare's Curated Room
Image Courtesy of Artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery. Photographer: Stephen White
'Ballet Africa' 2017
'Ballet Africa' 2017
Screen print with glaze on hand-deckled Somerset Tub Sized 410gsm paper
'Angel (Red)', 2016
'Angel (Red)', 2016
Unique ten colour silkscreen acrylic print and full colour digital print on canvas
'Angel (Turquoise)', 2016
'Angel (Turquoise)', 2016
Unique nine colour silkscreen acrylic print and full colour digital print on canvas

The Chatsworth Festival - ART OUT LOUD

22–24 September 2017 · Talks by artists, curators and writers

ART OUT LOUD is a festival of talks by artists, curators and writers held over three days in the theatre at Chatsworth and in a marquee on the South Lawn.

This year, to tie in with House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion, Art Out Loud is thrilled to be including leading figures from the world of fashion.

ART OUT LOUD 2017 aims to provide ‘something for everyone’ while, at the same time, offering in-depth insights into the work of some extraordinary individual artists, curators and writers.

On Saturday 23rd September at 2.30pm–3.30pm on South Lawn, Yinka Shonibare will be in conversation with art critic and broadcaster Alastair Sooke.

More details on the ART OUT LOUD programme are available here



Tous, des sang-mêlés (All, mixed-bloods)

Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Museum MAC VAL

Group Show: From 22nd April to 3rd September, 2017. Opening on Friday 21 April 2017, 6:30pm 

The Val-de-Marne Contemporary Art Museum is happy to present a group show entitled “Tous, des sang-mêlés” (“All, mixed-bloods”) around the universal and burning issue of cultural identity. This original proposal echoes previous curatorial projects conducted by the MAC VAL over the last few years. 

In tune with the current world affairs, this exhibition explores the notion of cultural identity through various artistic visions and experiences: what is our common denominator? How do we build a shared culture in spite of more and more diverse/opposite origins? Those are some of the current global issues. Under the co-patronage of French historian Lucien Febvre and his book We are all mixed-bloods: a manual on the history of the French civilization (1950), and that of Stuart Hall, founding father of Cultural Studies, this exhibition highlights the fictional dimension of the concept of cultural identity. Our curators have build an exhibition around different proposals that raise questions and shed light on what relates and sets us apart, on transfer of knowledge and future, on power and resistance, on individuals and communities… 

Through the voice of about sixty international artists and around one hundred artworks, the exhibition investigates the topics of cultural, national and sexual identities. They all revolve around the notion of being, yet some are obvious, others bring up –often passionate, always political- debates, and others call up memories of the past, sensitivity, experiences, and existence itself, from survival instinct to the notion of living together. 

The works gathered in this exhibition tackle these topics from a real-life standpoint in a spirit of exchange and dialogue. If cultural identity is a fiction, artists have different ways to interpret, investigate and question it…while taking distance with the –all too reductive- identity perspective. How do we shape ourselves in regard to our tongue, territory, family, History, story, and stereotypes? 

The exhibition proposes several elements to establish a common ground on which alterities could develop together and in regard to one another. 

Through the story, sensitivity, words and commitment of artists from all horizons, ages and nationalities, each visitor can grow his own understanding of the notion of “Identity”. Set up in the very heart of the exhibition, “De quoi j’me mêle?” offers a space of encounters, debates, reading and relaxation all throughout the duration of the show. Its goal is to take time to think together or individually about the issues raised by the exhibition and the reality of today’s world. Singular voices will speak up to share opinions as well as personal and collective experiences. 

Yinka Shonibare will be exhibiting End of Empire, 2016

Curated by Julie Crenn and Frank Lamy, Assisted by Julien Blanpied and Ninon Duhamel.




End of Empire, 2016
End of Empire, 2016

Leisure Land Golf

York Art Gallery

Yinka Shonibare's Football Cloud, 2015 at Leisure Land Golf, York Art Gallery 2017

Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf is a touring exhibition by New Art Exchange (NAE), Nottingham. The Exhibition was originally commissioned by EM15, a collective of arts organisations from the East Midlands, for the #56 Venice Biennale. Loaned with kind permission by the artist and New Art Exchange, Nottingham.

Fully playable, this crazy golf course features themed holes each designed by a different world-renowned artist, including John Akomfrah, Doug Fishbone, Ellie Harrison, Yinka Shonibare, Hetain Patel, Reactor and Eyal and Ines Weizman. The game offers an accessible and interactive way of engaging with contemporary art evoking political, social and economic concerns around the theme of leisure.



Football Cloud, 2015
Football Cloud, 2015
The British Library
The British Library

YINKA SHONIBARE MBE Prejudice at Home: a Parlour, a Library, and a Room

James Cohan Chelsea 533 West 26th St.  

Friday 17th February - Saturday 18th March, 2017

Opening reception Friday, 17th February, 6-8pm

James Cohan is pleased to present an exhibition by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, the artist’s sixth at the gallery. Prejudice at Home: A Parlour, a Library, and a Room will feature three major installations, which together demonstrate Shonibare’s multivalent approach to the theme of “Otherness.” The works span three decades of thought-provoking, wide-ranging considerations of individual and collective identity through the lens of history. Today, these artworks wield an ever greater urgency as a reminder of how prejudices, if allowed free range, can cripple a society.

 On view are the freestanding installation The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour, 1996-97, the photo suite Dorian Gray, 2001, and the US premiere of Shonibare’s more recent large scale work The British Library, which has been a sensation since its first presentation at the Brighton Festival in 2014.


'Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina' 2017
'Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina' 2017

Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World

Kensington Palace: 22 June - 12 November 2017

Specially commissioned new artwork by Yinka Shonibare MBE: Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina, 2017

Exhibition: Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World at Yale Center for British Art and Kensington Palace

This exhibition will explore the story of three remarkable German princesses: Caroline of Ansbach, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha, and Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, all of whom married into the British royal family in the eighteenth century. Caroline and Charlotte became queens consort to George II and George III respectively; Princess Augusta never achieved this distinction but held the titles of Princess of Wales and Princess Dowager, and was mother to King George III.

Through their wide-ranging intellectual, social, and political interests, Caroline, Augusta, and Charlotte helped to shape court culture and the age in which they lived, and would leave a lasting legacy. They encouraged the greatest philosophers, scientists, artists, and architects of the day; and they brought art, music, dance, enlightened conversation, and experimentation into the palaces and royal gardens, and supported industry, trade, and imperial ambition. The exhibition will include many important works of art and manufacture, which belonged to these women and their families, or were commissioned by them. Works by Hans Holbein, William Kent, Allan Ramsay, Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Stubbs, Thomas Gainsborough, Johan Zoffany, and many more will be on display. Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World is a collaboration between Historic Royal Palaces and the Yale Center for British Art. It will be on view at the Center in spring 2017 and then at Kensington Palace from June 22 to November 12, 2017. The lead curator is Joanna Marschner, Senior Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, assisted by Samantha Howard, Curatorial Assistant. The organizing curator at the Center is Amy Meyers, Director, who is assisted by Lisa Ford, Assistant Director of Research; Glenn Adamson, Senior Research Associate; and Tyler Griffith, Postdoctoral Research Associate.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication of the same title, a beautifully illustrated catalogue of works edited by Joanna Marschner, with the assistance of David Bindman and Lisa Ford. Co-published with Historic Royal Palaces in association with Yale University Press, the book will feature contributions by an international team of scholars.



Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

Wind Sculpture VII

Wind Sculpture VII is the first sculpture installed permanently in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. This unique, gold-leaf version of Shonibare’s Wind Sculptures series evokes the sails of ships that have crossed the Atlantic and other oceans, connecting nations through the exchange of ideas, products, and people. In its form, it captures histories that can be inspiring or brutal, but always complex. It suggests that the opening of the seas led not only to the slave trade and colonization, but also to the dynamic contributions of Africans and African heritage worldwide. Using yellow, blue, rose, and gold, Shonibare celebrates the African men, women, and children who have shaped the United States, Great Britain, and other nations of today and for the future.




British Council unveils 'Wind Sculpture' by Yinka Shonibare MBE in Lagos, Nigeria

Tuesday 1 November 2016 to Tuesday 31 January 2017

This will be the first major Yinka Shonibare exhibition in Nigeria and will see an installation of his iconic Wind Sculpture at the Ndubuisi Kanu Park in Lagos.

The sculpture, made of batik design, echoes Shonibare's imaginative treatment of the sails on Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, his Fourth Plinth commission for Trafalgar Square which is permanently installed outside the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Following the installation, there will be a lecture for Visual Arts students and film screenings which will take place at Ndubuisi Kanu Park.

Wind Sculpture will be installed from 1 November 2016 until 31 January 2017.


Yinka Shonibare in ‘BODY/PLAY/POLITICS’ at Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan

The exhibition runs from 1 October until 14 December 2016.

BODY/PLAY/POLITICS presents contemporary works of art that delve from a variety of angles into images that have been generated throughout history by “the body,” which encompasses the individual human body, our collective actions, and spiritual presences. There is a tendency in our society to label specific bodies as healthy or unhealthy, beautiful or ugly, and to envision certain modes of behavior as representative of the entire group, which we classify such as “typically Japanese.” In other cases, minor deviations from norms or expectations can elicit strange feelings in observers and cause entirely different meanings to be perceived.

In a world cohabited by people with all sorts of skin colors, ethnicities, religions, gender norms and lifestyles, where the colors, forms, or behaviors of individual bodies are not inherently vested with specific meanings, over the course of millennia many value judgments and hierarchies have arisen in societies and are all too often linked to tragedies of history.

The six artists featured in this exhibition are from Europe/ Africa, Southeast Asia, and Japan. Their works express, in poetic and sometimes humor-inflected ways, aspects of history that manifest themselves through the body, looking toward the future and bringing the shapes of new ideas and meanings into view.

Artists: Yinka Shonibare MBE, Yee I-Lann, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, UuDam Tran Nguyen, Ishikawa Ryuichi and Tamura Yuichiro.



Revolution Kid (Fox), 2012
Revolution Kid (Fox), 2012

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'Paradise Beyond' at Gemeentemuseum, Helmond

20th September 2016 – 12th February 2017

The Gemeentemuseum in Helmond is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of works by Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Paradise Beyond will showcase a selection of sculpture, installation, collage, drawing, photography and film by Yinka Shonibare, from the period 2004 – 2016. Exploring themes of race, class and power, Shonibare's seductive and humorous work makes sensitive socio-cultural topics accessible to the audience. 

The exhibition focuses on the repetition in historical cycles of wealth, conflict, revolution and war, in the ultimate quest for paradise. "Paradise Beyond" suggests that somewhere beyond the horizon lies paradise - but where and when this will be found remains uncertain.

Yinka Shonibare MBE is known for his use of colourful African batik fabric sourced from the Helmond-based Vlisco textile factory. The Vlisco patterns or imitation batik are inspired by Indonesian design and for several decades have been very popular in West Africa. Since the 1960s the fabrics have been used as a symbol of African identity and independence - which supports Shonibare’s motto: nothing is what it seems.

In connection with Shonibare's 'Paradise Beyond'Vlisco will also be exhibiting classic patterns, re-interpretations and new designs in the separate exhibition Un par Un. The exhibition focuses in on four specific aspects: the company’s history, production processes, design processes and the use of the fabrics in fashion and art. In this presentation, developed especially for Vlisco’s 170th anniversary, the emphasis will be on captivating the visual qualities of the fabrics and their powerful symbolism.


Rose of Lima, 2016
Rose of Lima, 2016

'...and the wall fell away' at Stephen Friedman Gallery

28 September 2016 - 5 November 2016

Private view: Tuesday 27 September 2016, 6-8pm 
Frieze week West End private view: Thursday 6 October 2016, 6-8pm

Opening during Frieze week in October 2016, Yinka Shonibare MBE presents his sixth solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery titled ‘...and the wall fell away'.

The show marks a significant transition and a pivotal moment in the artist's practice. There is a complete absence of the Dutch wax batik textiles for which he is known. He instead takes the fabric's designs and manipulates them in new ways. Traditions of classical art and religious iconography are explored in the exhibition; Shonibare uses the patterns of the batik fabrics to interrupt these themes. The idea of dismantling the boundaries in western understanding is indicated in the title of the show. By leaving the ‘trace' of his trademark batik motifs, Shonibare gives a personal insight into the complexities of identity, hybridity and colonial history.

The exhibition is divided into two parts: Gallery One is focused on ideas of rationality in classical art and Gallery Two, on religion. The show coincides with a major commission currently displayed on the Royal Academy's façade on Burlington Gardens. In the exhibition, a monumental hand-painted installation will echo the same motif; the Royal Academy being an important link and on-going inspiration for the artist following his election as an Academician in 2013. Concurrent with this show is a new commission, ‘The End of Empire', which is presented with ‘The British Library' and on view at Turner Contemporary in Margate.

Upon entering Gallery One, we are struck by the absence of sculpture. Instead, an expansive wall painting is framed by the white walls of the gallery. Unlike previous iterations of these impressive installations, here there are no sculptural elements. This work sets the tone for the show as the wax batik pattern is stripped from the fabric and positioned in a new context. Dutch wax batik fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a new symbol of African identity and independence. Since the early 1990s, Shonibare has used it to represent the flexibility of identity as much as the implications of colonialism. The wall painting is completed by an accompanying floor drawing rendered in gold and red and inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Vitruvian Man'. Da Vinci's drawing was intended to demonstrate that man is the measure of all things. Shonibare's version here is a black figure and a hybrid of both man and woman. The two elements form one immersive work, of which the viewer becomes a part on entering the room.

In another gallery three sculptures recognisable as David, Venus de Milo and the Discus Thrower, are gloriously adorned with batik patterns. Shonibare is renowned for creating dynamic figures in motion, dressed in Victoriana costumes reproduced in batik fabric. The figures' lithe bodies have been hand-painted with the batik designs. Importantly, these have been altered by the artist. Much like the artist's series of self-portraits in which he superimposed batik patterns onto his own face, these new works put the pattern directly onto the skin. In doing so, Shonibare clashes the ideological implications of the textile with classical sculpture. Importantly, unlike previous works that bore antique globes in place of a head; here the figures have contemporary globes that map a post colonial landscape. This deftly denies any notion of race and focuses our attention instead on figure's pose and its connotations of sexuality, masculinity, athleticism and the ideal body.

The series of screen-prints on canvas in Gallery Two is Shonibare's largest to date. A key feature of Shonibare's work is its visual appeal, and these are immediately seductive. Figures from Christian and African religious iconography merge into fantastical hybrids. Shonibare is able to make these works by drawing on a large tablet, using new technology that was not available to him before. This is the first instance in which we see Shonibare's drawing, what the artist describes as ‘hand expression', on such a large scale. Each work begins with an image of a European religious figure in a classical pose. Shonibare then overlays this with elements of Dutch Wax batik patterns and African ritual masks. "First of all [I] think about picture making itself: the history of Modernism and the aesthetic of the mask in Modernist painting. So we are going back to Picasso I guess. And then taking that signifier of religious ritual, which is the mask, and overlapping one religious symbol with another religious symbol". By combining powerful imagery with their respective mythologies, he creates a hybrid: what the artist calls ‘a third myth'.

Shonibare's presentation flirts with the expectations of the audience, removing the textiles for which he is known. The mimesis of the fabric is an important move for the artist. Shonibare sees the material as a metaphor for interdependence: complexity and ambiguity are the cornerstones of his artistic narrative. His specific concerns here; art history, the power of iconography and religion, are powerfully brought together. With each of them he interrupts familiar references by overlaying the image with the wax batik pattern. In doing so he exercises individual agency and aesthetic creativity, which are ideas that are central to humanism. This has long been present in Shonibare's work, and this exhibition should be read as a celebration of human expression, achievement, beauty and the pursuit of intellectual and religious liberty, regardless of race and time. ‘...and the wall fell away' demonstrates an irreverent disregard for the binaries presented in western understandings and offers a contemporary deconstruction of the classics.


Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

Yinka Shonibare MBE at Yale Centre for British Art

Thursday, 1st September - Sunday, 11th December 2016

Yinka Shonibare is best known for his explorations of the legacies of colonialism through sculpture, installations, film, and photography. This display, which coincides with the Center’s exhibition Spreading Canvas: Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting, will focus on Shonibare’s interest in the British historical figure Admiral Lord Nelson, whom he uses as an emblem of Britain’s imperial history. An important feature of Shonibare’s work is the consistent use of colorful, wax-printed cotton fabrics, which are associated with Africa but originated in Indonesia and Holland, a product of global trade and imperial markets. The fabric sums up the themes at the heart of Shonibare’s work.

Yinka Shonibare MBE will be curated by Martina Droth, Deputy Director of Research and Curator of Sculpture, Yale Center for British Art.


Burlington Gardens Summer Festival, Saturday 2nd July 2016

The Royal Academy in partnership with Yinka Shonibare

Join the Royal Academy of Arts', Burlington Gardens Summer Festival on Saturday 2nd July from 12 noon - 6pm for lively, free street entertainment that takes inspiration from artist Yinka Shonibare RA. From interactive art and creative workshops, to food, music and entertainment, the Festival will offer something for everyone.

Encounter sit-specific art installations or get involved with print-making or drumming workshops. Bring the kids to upcycle vintage garnments and pose in family portraits. Enjoy live music, dance and poetry performances while tasting delicious food and drink from street stalls including Orbit Beers, La Gelateria and Company of Cooks, and a selection of Nigerian Tapas and cocktails by Charlton Nicoll.

Buy tickets here to the Artist’s Dining Room, where you’ll be treated to a 3-course Nigerian inspired menu while Doug Fishbone leads a series of lively discussion about Yinka Shonibare’s work. 



Bad School Boy 2014
Bad School Boy 2014
Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, glass flask, stool, resin, globe and leather. 195 x 65 x 57cm. © 2010 Yinka Shonibare MBE

Making & Unmaking: An Exhibition Curated by Duro Olowu

19 June - 18 September, 2016

Making & Unmaking, curated by celebrated fashion designer and curator Duro Olowu.

Bringing together over sixty international artists working in diverse media, this exhibition places antique West African textiles and Bauhaus tapestries amongst contemporary works and new commissions. Individually, the works address themes that include portraiture as well as representations of beauty, gender, sexuality, innocence and the body. Collectively, their coming together reveals a common thread that Olowu describes as a ‘process of personal ritual experienced by artists in creating their work’.

Artists featured: Caroline Achaintre, Marina Adams, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Anni Albers, Tasha Amini, Hurvin Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Tony Armstrong Jones, Emheyo Bahabba, Walead Beshty, Alighiero Boetti, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Lisa Brice, James Brown, Zoe Buckman, Claude Cahun, Lygia Clark, Céline Condorelli, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Alexandre da Cunha, Andreas Eriksson, Meredith Frampton, Simon Fujiwara, Anya Gallaccio, Hassan Hajjaj, Chie Hammons, Sheila Hicks, Donna Huddleston, Diane Itter, Isaac Julien, Neil Kenlock, Fernand Léger, Eric Mack, Peter McDonald, Rodney McMillian, Hamidou Maiga, Ari Marcopoulos, Brice Marden, Wardell Milan, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Nobukho Nqaba, Chris Ofili, Horace Ové CBE, Irving Penn, Tal R, Michael Roberts, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Daniel Sinsel, Christiana Soulou, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Taylor, Bill Traylor, Francis Upritchard, Al Vandenberg, Brent Wadden, Grace Wales Bonner, Rebecca Ward, West African Textiles, Stanley Whitney, Kehinde Wiley, Masaaki Yamada, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye


Trumpet Boy, 2010
Trumpet Boy, 2010
Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, trumpet, globe, leather and steel baseplate © 2010 Yinka Shonibare MBE


The Foundling Museum, London


27th May - 4th September 2016

For this major exhibition, Foundling Fellow Cornelia Parker has invited over sixty outstanding artists from a range of creative disciplines to respond to the theme of 'found', reflecting on the Museum's heritage.

Combining new and existing work with found objects kept for their significance, the exhibition will unfold throughout the Museum, interacting with historic works in the Collection and with each other. Parker’s inspiration has in part been taken from the Museum’s eighteenth-century tokens – small objects left by mothers with their babies as a means of identification should they ever return to the Foundling Hospital to claim their child.

Artists participating in FOUND include: Ron Arad RA, Phyllida Barlow RA, Jarvis Cocker, Richard Deacon RA, Tacita Dean RA, Jeremy Deller, Edmund de Waal, Brian Eno, Antony Gormley RA, Mona Hatoum, Thomas Heatherwick RA, Christian Marclay, Mike Nelson, Laure Prouvost, Yinka Shonibare MBE, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith RA, Wolfgang Tillmans RA, Marina Warner and Rachel Whiteread. Twenty Royal Academicians are contributing to the show, echoing the role that the Foundling Hospital played in the development of the Royal Academy. Founded in 1739 to care for babies at risk of abandonment, the Foundling Hospital was supported by the leading artists of the day, many of whom donated work, thanks to the revolutionary involvement of the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. The Royal Academy’s origins can be traced to the collective mobilisation of artists and the promotion of British art that took place at the Hospital during the eighteenth century.


Butterfly Kid (Boy), 2015
Butterfly Kid (Boy), 2015
Fiberglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, silk, metal, globe, leather and steel baseplate 50 x 29 1/2 x 34 5/8 in © 2015, Yinka Shonibare MBE

Rotunda Projects: Yinka Shonibare MBE

Organised by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, courtesy of James Cohan Gallery

7th May - 6th November 2016

The inaugural exhibition for Rotunda Projects comprises four figures from Shonibare’s series Rage of the Ballet Gods. The figures will be on view in the museum’s rotunda from May 7th to November 6th, 2016, as part of the museum’s year-long centennial celebration.

The Rotunda Projects series will engage visitors with experimental, provocative, and compelling works in a variety of styles and employing diverse materials created by internationally recognized and emerging artists.


Royal Academy Wrap

Digital print commissioned by Royal Academy of Arts

The Royal Academy of Arts is undergoing a transformative redevelopment by David Chipperfield Architects that will unite Burlington House on Piccadilly with 6 Burlington Gardens to the north. The Royal Academy will be opened as never before, creating a revitalised destination for artists and the public in the very heart of London, completed in time for our 250th anniversary in 2018. Across the site there will be new public areas, displays of our collection and more space for the RA Schools. Burlington Gardens will reopen with newdedicated spaces for exhibitions, new Learning facilities, and a double-height lecture theatre.

Royal Academician Yinka Shonibare MBE will create an art work for the scaffolding wrap which will shroud the façade of Burlington Gardens for the next 2 years while the building work is taking place. It will contribute an important temporary work of art to the neighbo§urhood of Mayfair that celebrates not just the Royal Academy but the importance of art and culture for everyone. 

‘RA Family Album’ brings together over 150 photographs that span the Royal Academy’s 248-year history. The juxtaposition of images reveals the rich tapestry of activity which takes place behind these walls.  From the renowned exhibitions, public debates, artists’ gatherings and stylish social events, to the more private making of art by Schools students and the skilled back of house operation, all give the place its life and vitality. This spread of images is topped by one of Shonibare’s signature colourful fabric designs, in this case of circles, selected as a sign of universal inclusiveness. From historic legacy to future possibilities, the work highlights the Royal Academy as a place for all.



RA Family Album
RA Family Album
Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and James Cohan Gallery, New York

POP! at Stephen Friedman Gallery

16 March 2013 - 20 April 2013

Stephen Friedman Gallery is delighted to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Exploring the corruption and excess of the current economic crisis, the show is a raucous celebration of its decadence and debauchery, sharply revealing its dark underbelly. With characteristic wit and critique, Shonibare explores the fetishisation of commodities rife in a society where luxury goods now take the place of religious iconography. Through the lenses of art historical homage, the exhibition depicts a cross section of cultural and chronological filters in Shonibare's most ambitious works to date.

POP! heralds a new direction for the artist in terms of scale, social commentary and power. Carrying a strong message while retaining real beauty and cunning wit, Shonibare presents a most impressive and powerful body of work.


The British Library
The British Library
Hardback books, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, gold foiled names, five wooden chairs, five iPads, iPad stands, headphones, interactive Application and antique wind-up clock Dimensions: Variable © 2014 Yinka Shonibare MBE

End of Empire

Co-commision by 14 - 18 NOW and Turner Contemporary Margate.

22nd March - 30th October 2016

In a new commission, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, one of the leading artists at work in the UK, explores how the new alliances forged in the First World War changed British society forever and continue to affect us today.

Shonibare’s new work features two of his signature figures attired in African fabrics, their globe-heads highlighting the countries involved in WW1. Offering a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, the entire work pivots almost imperceptibly in the gallery space, symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.

How has immigration contributed to the British culture in which we live today? How have immigrants shaped what it means to be British? These are the questions Shonibare asks in The British Library, a sculptural work presented alongside End of Empire at Turner Contemporary. Shelves of books, many bearing the name of an immigrant who has enriched our society (from TS Eliot to Zaha Hadid), remind us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.


Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Fibreglass mannequins, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, fibreglass, wire, leather and steel baseplates 285 x 230 x 115 cm © 2013, Yinka Shonibare MBE

Recreating the Pastoral

Solo Exhibition at VISUAL Carlow Ireland

6th February - 19th June

Recreating The Pastoral draws the viewer through a series of installations which juxtapose elements of elaborate 18th and 19th C European dress and courtly behaviour with contemporary political sensitivities expressed through Shonibare's use for Dutch wax cotton cloth, itself a culturally ambigious material replete with a colonial history of appropriation.The installations question Euro-centric histories, and are a powerful expression of the complexities inherent in contemporary discourse on post-colonialism and identity. Shonibare's Jardin d'Amour mimics the frivolity and excess of 18th C Europe. The theatrical staging of works. framed within an elaborate artificial maze draw references to the colonial relationship to landscape, and the control and creation of spaces for pleasure by a powerful elite.



Cannonball Paradise, Gerisch-Stiftung, Neumünster, Germany 2014.

27th April - 12 October

‘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.

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.


The William Morris Family Album, William Morris Gallery, London, England 2015

7th February - 7th June

The Gallery's first major commision: a Morris-inspired photographic exhibition by Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE.

The Victorian age, the legacy of Empire and the global textile trade are central themes in the work of Yinka Shonibare. In this new exhibition the internationally acclaimed British Nigerian artist turns his attention to William Morris. By inviting Waltham Forest residents to help recreate photographs of Morris’s family, he encourages viewers to reflect on the realities of equality in both Morris's time and our own.


Pièces de Résistance, DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montréal, Québec 2015

29th April - 20th September

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.


Rage of the Ballet Gods, James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA 2015

30th April - 20th June

James Cohan Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition by Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare MBE entitled Rage of the Ballet Gods, opening on April 30th running through June 20, 2015.

In this new body of work, Shonibare contemplates the changing state of the Earth’s climate and the human instinct for survival in the face of the extreme weather experienced worldwide. The artist is well known for his employment of historical events as metaphors with which to explore current geo-political and social conditions, and Rage of the Ballet Gods points to the progress of rational thought—a legacy of the Age of Enlightenment—that underlies the scientific advances propelling us towards environmental doom. Inspired to make a poetic statement, Shonibare turns to mythology to uncover this paradox. The exhibition is divided in two parts: Rage and Escape.

In Rage, the Greek gods Apollo, Zeus and Poseidon are depicted as ballerinas. These iconically male figures have been transformed into emblems of female grace, with detailed tutus made of Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax fabric. Yet these beautiful ballerina goddesses are dangerous, in a violent rage against humans for their willful and continual destruction of Earth. They carry deadly weapons—a gun, a knife and a sword—along with their familiar trident, thunder bolt and golden lyre. Their heads of Victorian-style globes map the occurrence of lightening, warming and tsunamis around the world.

Shonibare faces the subject with characteristic playfulness as he reveals the irony of the situation: throughout mythology, it is the Gods who used weather events such as storms, earthquakes and droughts to punish humans. In Homer’s Odyssey, the jealous Poseidon punishes the hero Odysseus with violent storms that turn his ship around and keep him, time and time again, from returning to his home to Ithaca. Here, however, the Gods are enraged because the humans have usurped their prerogative as creators of terrifying weather events. Shonibare’s gods are upset that traditional order of the world has been turned upside down and that the transcendent truths, on which the history of mankind is based, are disappearing.

The four walls of the main gallery—North, South, East and West—features photographic tondos of Medusa based on Caravaggio’s portrait in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. The four works in the series depict women of different races—European, Asiatic, Indian and African—representing the four corners of the world. Medusa broke her vow of celibacy and married the god Poseidon, for which, as punishment, the goddess Athena turned her golden locks into a morass of snakes. Shonibare’s Medusa has a tangle of snake hair made from African textiles.

Escape, the second part of the exhibition, concerns escape from the apocalypse. The works serve as a humorous yet prophetic warning that we may need to seek new ground should the Earth become inhabitable. Shonibare’s Refugee Astronaut is a disheveled space traveler toting his worldly possessions on his back—pots, pans, butterfly net, stool and family photographs—ready to find a new oasis. A pair of Butterfly Kidsculptures depict a boy and girl sprouting wings, metamorphosing to fly away and escape.

Rage of the Ballet Gods sees Shonibare connecting with myth to find solace in the fantastical during an unnerving time. He hopes to provoke what the scholar Joseph Campbell called the “psychic unity of mankind,” which Campbell felt was engaged through the poetic expression of mythology. The artist reaches back to “an experience of the eternal source and returns with gifts powerful enough to set society free.”

Concurrent with the gallery show, Shonibare is featured in three solo exhibitions: Colonial Arrangements at the historic Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights, NY (opening May 1, 2015); Pièces de résistanceat the DHC/Art foundation in Montreal (opening April 28, 2015); and his first Asian retrospective exhibition at the Daegu Art Museum in Korea (opening June 2015).


Colonial Arrangements, Morris Jumel Mansion, New York, USA 2015

1st May - 31st August

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 May 1st to August 31st, 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 extraordinary sculpture, including an entirely new, never-before-seen work commissioned by the Mansion. It's the most ambitious art show in Morris-Jumel history.


Yinka Shonibare MBE, Daegu Museum, Daegu, South Korea 2015

30th May - 18th October

British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (b.1962, London) is an acclaimed contemporary African artist known for his superb aesthetic sensibility. Shonibare contracted a rare inflammatory disease when he was 18, resulting in physical disability. Overcoming such unforeseen adversity through sheer willpower, he went on to study art at university. His singular view of the world is expressed in his art. As a dark-complected individual raised in a white society, Shonibare unflinchingly examines how Eurocentrism and racism are deeply and unthinkingly embedded in Western society. However, his works are approachable, for his criticism of imperialism, colonialism and the distortions of history that lie at the root of racism and Eurocentrism are tempered by a sense of humor.  


MCA Chicago Plaza Project: Yinka Shonibare MBE, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois, USA 2014

June 16th - November 10th 2014

Shonibare’s MCA Plaza installation includes three of his new Wind Sculptures. Nearly 20 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.


Making Eden, Blain|Southern, Berlin, Germany 2014

15 February – 19 April 2014

Blain|Southern is delighted to present Making Eden, the first solo gallery exhibition in Berlin by internationally acclaimed artist Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Bringing together a body of entirely new work across two floors of the gallery, Making Eden explores the theme of revolution, drawing a stark contrast between the utopian ideals inherent in anarchic action and the darker realities of its consequences. Particularly pertinent in today’s global climate of social and political disillusionment, Shonibare explores both historical and contemporary cycles of revolution, seeking to demonstrate the destructive patterns of human behaviour that repeat themselves across time.

Making Eden interprets literally the notion of overthrowing the current social order in favour of an imagined ‘better place’. The exhibition functions in two halves: the ground floor mirrors this perceived utopian realm – a paradise that is reminiscent of heaven itself, while the upper floor is a representation of the grotesque reality of the corrupt and the fallen, as if the viewer is walking into hell. Indeed, Shonibare once described how ‘enlightened intentions, in sum, do not necessarily produce enlightened results’. This view is reflected in the horrific reality of the violence and death depicted, which has frequently occurred as a direct result of many revolutions. 


Yinka Shonibare, Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy 2014

26th March - 10th May 2014

Brand New Gallery is proud to introduce the first solo exhibition in an Italian gallery of the British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, opening on the 26th of March and running through May 10th. In this multi-part exhibition of sculptures, photography, and film, Shonibare explores the concept of destiny as it relates to themes of desire, yearning, love, power, and sexual repression.

Following the installation of the artist’s widely acclaimed work “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” in Trafalgar Square in London, Shonibare continues his explorations of Lord Nelson, the figurehead of the British Empire at its apotheosis. During the exhibition, the gallery will feature two sculptural installations of costumes with period details and his signature vibrantly patterned fabrics, a hallmark of his work, as well as a series of five photoworks entitled “Fake Death Pictures”. On view is the film “Addio Del Passato” (So Closes My Sad Story) in which the character of Lord Nelson’s estranged wife, sings the eponymous aria from the last act of Verdi’s opera, “La Traviata”.


Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders, The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 2014

24th January - 21st April 2014

The Barnes Foundation presents Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders from January 24, 2014 through April 21, 2014. A British artist of Nigerian descent, Shonibare has exhibited extensively in the United States and Europe. His work alludes to European art and intellectual history and explores race, slavery, authenticity, and commerce. The works in the exhibition—approximately 15 sculptures, paintings, photographs, and a room installation—address themes of education, opportunity, and scientific and cultural discovery.  This is the artist’s first major exhibition in Philadelphia, since his residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2004 and it includes a commission entitled Magic Ladders.

“Several of Shonibare’s sculptures refer to the Enlightenment and its ideals of rationality and exploration,” says Judith F. Dolkart, deputy director of art and archival collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes. “Shonibare shares Dr. Barnes's belief that education can improve individual lives, benefitting society as a whole. Barnes turned his pharmaceutical factory into a progressive and integrated workplace, where he devoted two hours of each eight-hour workday to discussions on philosophy, psychology, and aesthetics with his employees.”


The Foundation’s collaboration with Shonibare pays homage to Barnes’s interest in contemporary art and artists. The centerpiece of the exhibition is the Barnes commission Magic Ladders, which explores childhood learning and the opportunities that education can create. In considering the exhibition and commission, the artist reviewed the complicated and decades-long correspondence between Barnes and Leo Stein, a fellow collector and an important advisor and friend as Barnes built his art collection and educational foundation. In Magic Ladders, three children ascend ladders constructed of books written or read by Albert Barnes. Other recent sculptures in the exhibition, Planets in My Head, Philosophy (2011); Planets in My Head, Physics (2010); and Pedagogy Boy/Boy (2011), echo the theme of the magical, transformative discoveries of childhood learning.

The exhibition invites viewers to reflect upon Barnes’s collecting practice, particularly in terms of its connections to colonialism. One of the first American collectors to regard African sculpture as fine art rather than ethnographic curiosity, Barnes displayed African masks and figures alongside paintings by Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani. A champion of education for African Americans, Barnes made his collection of African art broadly available to black readers through Opportunity magazine. Ironically, his acquisition of African art was made possible by the imperialist colonization of Africa, a theme explored in Shonibare’s monumental Scramble for Africa (2003).


The British Library, HOUSE and Brighton Festival co-commission 2014

3rd Jun - 22nd June

Yinka Shonibare MBE’s new site-specific installation explores the impact of immigration on all aspects of British culture and considers notions of territory and place, cultural identity, displacement and refuge. 

Brighton Museum’s Old Reference Library becomes a repository for those, both celebrated and unfamiliar, who as immigrants to this country, made unique contributions to what we regard as ‘British’ culture. Filled with books colourfully bound in Shonibare’s trademark wax cloth (itself a cross-cultural hybrid of Indonesian design and Dutch manufacture), the gold embossed spines identify individuals such as T.S. Eliot, Henry James, Hans Holbein, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zaha Hadid, Mick Jagger, Darcey Bussell, George Frideric Handel, Hammasa Kohistani, Liam Gallagher and Noel Gallagher, Amartya Sena, Anish Kapoor and many more. 
Yinka Shonibare MBE’s work makes visible the cultural influences of colonisation and explores the rich complexity of post-colonial cultures. The British Library asks us to evaluate our attitudes to immigration and immigrants. 


FOCUS: Yinka Shonibare, MBE, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA 2013

January 13th - March 24th 2013

The Modern's Director's Council FOCUS season begins with two solo exhibitions to run concurrently, one featuring the work of British/Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE and the other featuring the work of New York-based artist Gary Simmons.


Shonibare explores colonialism and the intricate ways in which it has shaped, and continues to shape, cultural identities. He is well known for his life-size sculptural tableaux featuring staged, headless mannequins dressed in elaborate period garments. In these works, the materials and designs of the original clothing are replaced with batik, a colorful and ornately patterned fabric. The story of batik itself speaks to the notion of colonization and its effects: it originated in Indonesia; then, by way of imperial explorers, it was introduced to West Africa, where it was appropriated and now has its strongest associations; and indeed its greatest exporters are not in Africa at all, but are Dutch and British. By presenting his version of historical (often white, European) figures dressed in batik, Shonibare "Africanizes" the subjects, subversively pointing out a multitude of deep-rooted mythologies, falsehoods, and prejudices that complicate the dominant narrative of history and identity.


FABRIC-ATION, GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark 2013

21st September - 24th November 2013

Autumn at GL STRAND offers one of the absolutely major names on the international contemporary art scene. British-Nigerian Yinka Shonibare is currently arousing the enthusi­asm of the public and reviewers in England. Now the Dan­ish public will have a chance to make the acquaintance of the artist’s fascinating universe of headless soldiers and Victorian ballerinas in his first major solo show in Scandi­navia.

Over the past 15 years Yinka Shonibare has created an iconic oeuvre of headless mannequins that bring to life famous mom­ents of history and art history. With great commitment and equal degrees of seriousness, wit and humour he has mounted an assault on the colonialism of the Victorian era and its paral­lels in Thatcher’s Britain. In recent years he has widened the scope of his subjects to include global news, injustices and com­plications in a true cornucopia of media, for example film, photography, painting, sculpture and installation – all represen­ted in the show at GL STRAND.

FABRIC-ATION mainly gathers works from recent years, as well as a brand new work created for the exhibition, Copenhagen Girl with a Bullet in her Head. The subjects include Admiral Nel­son and his key position in British colonialism, the signifi­cance of globalization for the formation of modern man’s iden­tity, multiculturalism, global food production and the revo­lutions of the past few years in the Arab world. In other words, Shoni­bare is able, through an original and captivating universe, to pre­sent us with the huge complexity that defines our time, as well as the underlying history.

The title of the exhibition refers to Shonibare’s use of colour­ful patterned fabrics in his art; fabrics that are associated with Afri­ca, but which have their origin in Holland and were inten­ded for the Indonesian market, and which, typically for Shonibare, illustrate that things are rarely what they seem at first glance.

FABRIC-ATION was originated by YSP - Yorkshire Sculpture Park, England, 2013.


Dreaming Rich, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China 2013

November 9th - January 9th 2014

HONG KONG – Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong by renowned British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE RA; Dreaming Rich, opening on 19 November. The exhibition continues Shonibare’s exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism with a series of all-new works commenting on Hong Kong’s modern-day relationships with labour, power and wealth. page1image11224

Dreaming Rich is a characteristically exuberant and colourful critique of wealth, which simultaneously acknowledges society’s complicity with it. Shonibare’s questioning of cultural and national definitions is a pertinent one for Hong Kong, whose identity has been affected by the conflicting influences of Chinese and British colonialism. The exhibition offers a social commentary on Hong Kong’s fascination with luxury commodities, and how those have come in part a medium for social identity. 


Yinka Shonibare MBE: Egg Fight, Fondation Blachère, Apt, France

May 23rd - September 20th 2014

Cet été, la Fondation Blachère présente, dans son centre d’art à Apt dans le Vaucluse, une exposition monographique ainsi qu’une nouvelle installation lumineuse réalisée en collaboration avec l’artiste anglo-nigérian Yinka Shonibare MBE.

L’exposition est organisée autour de la puissante installation Egg Fight, qui vient juste d’entrer dans la Collection Blachère. Cette représentation du conflit, basée sur l’ouvrage Les Voyages de Gulliver de Jonathan Swift où l’on narre une lutte de longue date, est une allégorie à peine voilée des différences religieuses entre les Protestants et les Catholiques, qui illustre parfaitement la fascination de Shonibare pour le choc entre culture, politique et société.

Pendant que les deux figures engagées dans la « bataille des œufs » (Egg Fight) se préparent au combat au travers d’une division physique, les protagonistes de la vidéo et des photographies Odile & Odette, réalisées en collaboration avec le Royal Opera House de Londres, se reflètent l’une et l’autre de chaque côté d’un cadre Baroque ornementé. Ici, l’artiste crée une complexe et subtile interaction entre deux danseuses, pour lesquelles la dualité des personnages est mise en avant par la différence de couleur.

Est aussi inclus l’emblématique et sculpturale installation The Crowning, inspirée des œuvres de Jean-Honoré Fragonnard, exposée en 2007 au Musée du Quai Branly à Paris. Cette œuvre, comme l’installation murale Little Rich Girls, établit un lien entre les loisirs, l’opulence, les plaisirs et l’exploitation du travail des esclaves, posant des questions sur la colonisation et ses conséquences. L’excès rococo et la romance parfumée de The Crowning intensifie la collision entre pouvoir et moralité, une bataille qui peut mener à la révolution, également illustrée par Revolution Kid (Calf), et à la mort, une fatalité représentée dans la série photographique des Fake Death. La représentation du choc par Shonibare, à la fois littéral et symbolique, continue avec Climate Shit Drawing, une série d’œuvres qui se lancent dans le conflit des changements climatiques, un champ de bataille mondial à la fois nouveau et primordial.

Egg Fight et les œuvres majeures qui l’accompagnent, prêtées par plusieurs institutions, galeries et collections privées, relatent l’obsession de Shonibare pour les batailles entre des forces opposées, à la fois réelles et métaphoriques, que ce soit entre ou sur la religion, l’opulence, le pouvoir, la moralité, le plaisir, la colonisation, l’environnement ou encore sur les arts.

Ces clashes sont parfaitement résumés par le tissu emblématique de son travail, communément utilisé pour les robes africaines. C’est en fait un textile produit en masse, manufacturé en Hollande, d’après des motifs de wax originaires d’Indonésie. Prévu pour une exportation massive, ce tissu a été rejeté par les indonésiens et est devenu populaire dans l’ouest de l’Afrique, au moment où les nations émergentes se sont créé une identité lors de l’abolition du joug colonial. Les routes commerciales, qui produisent et consomment ce tissu, sont utilisées par Shonibare pour analyser la production complexe de l’identité et du pouvoir dans la période post-coloniale. Ces motifs seront reproduits dans la nouvelle installation extérieure de l’artiste, une robe Victorienne lumineuse de 4 mètres de haut, réalisée en collaboration avec Blachère Illumination, qui sera exposée dans le jardin de la Fondation.


Alien Man on Flying Machine
Alien Man on Flying Machine
Steel, aluminum, brass, Dutch wax printed cotton textile and rubber. 250 x 450 x 450 cm. © 2011, Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Art Stage 2016

Art Stage 2016 Singapore, Pearl Lam Galleries Special Presentation.

VIP Preview: 20 January, 3–6pm / Vernissage: 20 January, 6–9pm.

Fair Dates: 21st - 24th January.

Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to announce its participation in the 2016 edition of Art Stage, presenting artworks in the Galleries section at stand A10 and showcasing a special installation work by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, located near the entrance of the fairgrounds. Art Stage is Singapore’s preeminent international art fair and continues to attract top galleries from around the world in its anticipated sixth edition. The fair returns to the Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Level B2 of the iconic Marina Bay Sands in Singapore and will be open to the public from 21–24 January, 2016.

A special presentation of a major installation by acclaimed British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE will be featured as an extension of the main Pearl Lam Galleries stand. The installation brings together three works from his Invasion, Escape:  Aliens do it right! Series: Alien Man on Flying Machine, Alien Child, and the suspended Alien Woman on Flying Machine,


Boy Balancing Knowledge
Boy Balancing Knowledge
Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, books, globe, leather and steel baseplate. 156 x 94 x 120 cm. © 2015, Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Childhood Memories

Solo exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries Singapore

Opening Reception: 21st January 2016 4pm - 7pm

Exhibition Dates: 21st January - 13th March.

Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present an exhibition of work by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, opening on 21 January, 2016. In contrast with the artist’s previous work, which addressed universal political concerns, this new series returns to the essence of the imagination, an exploration of the subjective and the subconscious that is inspired by surrealism. For the first time, the artist will utilise his childhood memories in Nigeria, dividing the exhibition into two parts: new surrealist sculptures along with several screen prints.page1image10776 page1image10936 page1image11360 page1image11520 page1image11680  page1image12264

Shonibare draws on surrealism as both an artistic and political movement aimed at the liberation of the human being from the constraints of capitalism, the state, and the cultural forces that limit the reign of the imagination. The first part of the exhibition comprises two new fantastical sculptures based on the artist’s childhood memories when he lived in Lagos, Nigeria. Shonibare was born in Britain, but his family moved to Lagos when he was three years old. These dreamlike sculptures evoke poetic surrealist juxtapositions, exploring the artist’s half-remembered childhood tales, as well as the constructed and fictitious memories of childhood, folklore, and tradition.

Included in the show is Boy Sitting Beside a Hibiscus Flower, a sculpture based on the artist’s memory of his childhood garden in Nigeria. In a dreamlike scenario a boy sits under a giant hibiscus flower shaded from the hot sun, while in Ibeji (Twins) Riding a Butterfly, the artist explores Nigerian folklore about the significance of twins. Known as ‘Ibeji’ within Yoruba culture, twins are a source of anxiety and celebration, regarded as divine beings capable of bringing either affluence or misery to their parents.

In the remaining new sculpture in the show, the artist remembers making magical imaginary journeys through books. In Girl Balancing Knowledge, a girl precariously balances books on her left hand, likely to collapse in a heap. She kicks her right foot over to her left as if in a silent, surreal dance of joy. Education was highly valued in Shonibare’s family, which is why he returned to Britain at 17 years old to sit his A-levels. This work acts as a metaphor that bridges his time in Lagos and London, a move that was driven by his hunger for knowledge.

The artist’s trademark material is the brightly coloured African batik fabric he purchases at Brixton market in London, which can be seen throughout the exhibition. The fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch, and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa where it became a new sign of African identity and independence in the 1960s. The fabric makes up the clothes on the figures of Shonibare’s new sculptures.

For the first time at Pearl Lam Galleries, this exhibition will spread across two spaces at Gillman Barracks. A new space near block 5 will be home to the artist’s new body of work, while Pearl Lam Galleries’ original space in block 9 will be transformed into a screening room which will show two separate documentaries about Yinka Shonibare MBE, allowing visitors to find out more about the artist’s life and practice.

“I’m delighted to be welcoming Yinka Shonibare to our Singapore gallery for his first exhibition here, following on from the success of his Hong Kong show in 2013. Stimulating an artistic discourse is important to Pearl Lam Galleries, and while Yinka’s new body of work draws on surrealism, his work continues to comment on cultural identity, colonialism, and post-colonialism, themes very much relevant to a Singaporean audience.”

—Pearl Lam, Founder, Pearl Lam Galleries 


Selected Works, Gdańsk City Gallery, Poland

30.08.2013 - 31.12.2013

Yinka Shonibare: Selected Works

30.08.2013 - 31.12.2013

Curator: Patrycja Ryłko

A solo exhibition Selected Works toured two venues in Poland; Gdansk City Gallery and Wroclaw Contemporary Museum.

The exhibitions featured works, including the Fake Death series, Addio Del Passato and Revolution Kid (Fox Girl).

Gdansk City Gallery 2 - 29 November to 31 December 2013
Wroclaw Contemporary Museum - 17 January to 17 March 2014


Yinka Shonibare MBE, Royal Museums Greenwich, London, England 2013

18th September 2013 - 23 February 2014

The contemporary arts programme at Rotal Museums Greenwich continues with a series of revent works by one of Britain's leading artists. 

Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in London in 1962 and moved to Lago, Nigeria, at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art and graduated from Goldsmiths as part of the 'Young British Artists' generation.

Shonibare's work interrogates origins, cultural exchange and authenticity. It is instantly recognizable thanks to the repeated use of Dutch-wax fabric. Inspired by Indonesian batik and first produced by the Dutch for a European market, this brightly coloured printed cotton has now become a powerful symbol of West African identity.

The exhibition celebrates the arrival here of 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' by inviting the artist to infiltrate annd occupy the Royal Museums Greenwich sites. It encourages us to look at the National Maritime Museum collections with fresh eyes, and ask different questions about out maritime and stargazing past



Revolution Kid (Fox)
Revolution Kid (Fox)
Mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton, fibreglass, leather, taxidermy fox head, blackberry and 24 carat gold gilded gun 119 x 66 x 120cm, (46 7/8 x 26 x 47 1/4in)

Yinka Shonibare, MBE: FABRIC–ATION at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

2 March – 1 September 2013
 | Underground Gallery, Chapel, YSP Centre and open air

In March 2013 YSP presents the UK’s most extensive exhibition to date by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, MBE. FABRIC-ATION features over 30 works made between 2002 and 2013, including sculpture, film, photography and painting, many of which are shown in the UK for the first time. They include flying machines, aliens, toy paintings, food fairies, 
revolutionary children, spacemen and ballerinas.

The exhibition marks the premier of a new series of large sculptures for the public realm – two Wind Sculptures, which will be sited in the Park’s 18th century-designed landscape. Each measuring over six metres in height and richly painted with Shonibare’s signature batik fabric pattern, they will appear like large, glorious handkerchiefs caught by the wind.

Addressing issues pertinent to today’s society in Shonibare’s practice – the complexities of contemporary identity, dislocation, multiculturalism, global food production, corporate power and revolution – the exhibition traces how Shonibare has framed these concerns within a historical context, investigating the shaping role of the British Empire and the colonial past. The exhibition is accompanied by a major YSP publication, including texts by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Dr Rebecca Schneider, and Jean Fisher.


Yinka Shonibare's Africa Weekend: Deloitte Ignite 2012

This year’s Deloitte Ignite is curated by critically acclaimed artist, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, celebrated for works including Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, which he made for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. His vision for Deloitte Ignite 2012, Africa Weekend, is a celebration of traditional African and avant-garde arts and culture, expressing Africa’s global contribution to the contemporary arts world.

Please see website for more details http://www.roh.org.uk/about/deloitte-ignite


Yinka Shonibare Globe Head Ballerina

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

Globe Head Ballerina is a piece of public sculpture which is currently on display on the side of the Royal Oprea House in Convent Garden. This piece is a life sized work based on a photograph of ballerina Margot Fonteyn.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. 


Globe Head Ballerina
Globe Head Ballerina
2012 Yinka Shonibare MBE
Nelson's Ship in a Bottle
Nelson's Ship in a Bottle
2010 Yinka Shonibare, MBE

HMS Victory Returns to Trafalgar

Yinka Shonibare, MBE's Fourth Plinth Ship To Set Sail in May

The next commission for the Fourth Plinth, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, by leading Anglo-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare will be unveiled in Trafalgar Square on the morning of Monday 24 May 2010.

Commissioned by the Mayor of London and supported by Arts Council England with sponsorship from Guaranty Trust Bank of Nigeria, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle is a scale replica of HMS Victory in a giant bottle.

The artwork will be the first commission on the Fourth Plinth to reflect specifically on the historical symbolism of Trafalgar Square, which commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, and will link directly with Nelson's column. It is also the first commission by a black British artist.

The ship's 37 large sails will be made of richly patterned textiles commonly associated with African dress and symbolic of African identity and independence. The history of the fabric reveals that they were inspired by Indonesian batik design, mass produced by the Dutch and sold to the colonies in West Africa. Tying together historical and global threads, the work considers the legacy of British colonialism and its expansion in trade and Empire, made possible through the freedom of the seas that Nelson's Victory provided.

Yinka Shonibare says his piece will reflect the story of multiculturalism in London:

"For me its a celebration of London's immense ethnic wealth, giving expression to and honouring the many cultures and ethnicities that are still breathing precious wind into the sails of the United Kingdom. A ship in a bottle is an object of wonder. Adults and children are intrigued by its mystery. How can such towering masts and billowing sails fit inside such a commonplace object? With Nelson's Ship in a Bottle I want to take this childhood sense of wonder and amplify it to match the monumental scale of Trafalgar Square."

Yinka Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle is sponsored by Guaranty Trust Bank who are also supporting Chris Ofili's mid-career survey exhibition at Tate Britain, on view until 16 May 2010. 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Nigerian Independence. In London this will be marked by these two important exhibitions by leading international artists of Nigerian descent.


Yinka Shonibare: Threads of Art
A short documentary about the use of batik fabric in the sculptural works of Yinka Shonibare.

Looking up... Yinka Shonibare, MBE.

NMNM, Villa Sauber, 17 avenue Princess Grace, MC98000 MONACO

The “Training for a Museum” exercise continues, with artists invited to take an alternative look at the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco’s collections. In 2010, Yinka Shonibare, MBE, will inaugurate this exercise in reinterpretation at the Villa Sauber with a journey into the imaginary world of the stage.

In his work, Yinka Shonibare, MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), a Nigerian artist who lives in London and was born there in 1962, likes to unite different worlds in a single space, since he comes from the multiculturalism that constitutes our world today. His reflections on identity and memory mix together his two home cultures in a highly original aesthetic fashion. Bringing Dutch wax into a Victorian world and using it to dress the middle classes that he represents with headless mannequins proved to be an artistic gesture that made him instantly recognisable. A retrospective of Yinka Shonibare’s work has just been shown at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, followed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, and his ’ project will be inaugurated in Trafalgar Square on May 24, 2010.

Models, sculptures, photographs and videos: the works of Yinka Shonibare, MBE, will form an Ariadne’s thread inviting us to discover collections that belong to the artistic history of the Principality but have never or rarely been shown. Monte Carlo has been and is still a particularly vibrant artistic hub for stage and performance arts. We will encounter the Visconti “maquétothèque” of the Monte-Carlo Opera, Eugène Frey’s fabulous luminous decors, the Marquis du Périer de Mouriez’s strange collection of transparent paintings, plus the religious boxes from the Galéa Collection made by the Provencal Carmelites and a thousand other from the reserve collection that evoke the cabinets of curiosities of the 17th and 18th centuries, the ancestors of European museums. A costume conservation workshop will run throughout the exhibition, providing an opportunity for the public to get to know the hidden aspects of a museum.


I Know Something About Love

9 March - 22 May 2011

This exhibiton at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art was devoted to works by Yang Fudong, Shirin Neshat, Christodoulos Panayiotou and Yinka Shonibare MBE. Each of these artists explores the theme of love in different times and cultures through the spectrum of their personal experience, observation and commentary. The exhibition title takes its cue from a 1960s song written by Bert Berns and performed by The Exciters, in which there is the recurring lyric, ‘I know something about love’.

Yinka Shonibare MBE re-created the installation Jardin d’amour (Garden of Love), which he originally showed in 2007 at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.


Who Knows tomorrow

Starting on 4 June, the Hamburger Bahnhof and three other National Gallery sites — the Old National Gallery, the New National Gallery and the Friedrichswerder Church — will be showing five well-known artists of African extraction under the title "Who Knows Tomorrow?". The artists represented are El Anatsui, Zarina Bhimji, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Pascale Marthine Tayou and António Olé.

Learn more


National Museum of African Art Presents "Yinka Shonibare MBE"

A Mid-Career Retrospective of This Acclaimed Artist

November 3, 2009

Yinka Shonibare, one of the most celebrated artists working today, is the focus of an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art. On view from November 10 through March 7, 2010, the exhibition features 21 dramatic paintings, photographic series, films and sculptural tableaux, including his famous headless mannequins that portray the complexities of cultural identity. "Yinka Shonibare MBE" is the most comprehensive exhibition of works by this 47-year-old London-based artist.

The exhibition occupies two levels of the museum, assembling works of art never before seen together. For the first time, Shonibare's ground-breaking early painting “Double Dutch” (1994) will be seen with the museum's "Black Gold" (2006) and a selection of innovative new sculptural works, including the artist’s first and only work to incorporate moving parts, “Headless Man Trying to Drink” (2005). Another innovation of this installation includes presenting Shonibare’s cinematic work, “Odile and Odette,” in an open-air theater alongside paintings and other media.

“This exciting and memorable retrospective will bring visitors a first-hand look at some of the most important contemporary pieces from a celebrated Nigerian artist,” said Johnnetta Betsch Cole, director of the museum. “We are proud to have this stunning exhibition open our two-year celebration ‘Nigeria: Then, Now and Forever,’ a series of exhibitions, public programs and special events showcasing the arts, culture and people of Nigeria.” This two-year-long celebration is co-chaired by Hajiya Turai Umaru Yar’Adua, the first lady of Nigeria, and educator and philanthropist Camille Cosby.

The works in Shonibare’s exhibition consider contemporary African identity and its relationship to historic colonial practices and neo-colonial policies through painting, sculpture, installation and moving image. “Shonibare is most widely recognized for the elaborate sculptural tableaux he creates of richly costumed, headless mannequins,” said Karen Milbourne, curator at the National Museum of African Art. These costumes are made from fabrics inspired by Indonesian batiks, but manufactured in Europe and sold in west Africa. Today, these vibrantly patterned textiles are closely associated with African identity, and yet they also signal the entangled relations that unite peoples and cultures around the world.

A work titled “Scramble for Africa” (2003) will be on view. It depicts various headless statesmen claiming their territory as they sit around a table carving up the continent of Africa in the late 1800s. Another work, “Black Gold I,” is the first in a set of paintings that explore the complex politics and economics of oil and connect Shonibare’s early explorations of themes of wealth, class and privilege in his art with contemporary global issues.

“These works are a testament to the contemporary understanding of colonial and post-colonial African identity,” said Rachel Kent, senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Sydney, Australia. “Never before have so many pieces of Shonibare’s work come together for public view.”

“The exhibit reflects the artificial construct of culture. It’s not about authentic African experience or the authentic British experience—it lies somewhere both between and separate,” said Shonibare.

Born in England in 1962 and raised in Nigeria, Shonibare currently lives and works in London, where he has gained international attention by exploring issues of race and class through a range of media that includes sculpture, painting, photography and installation art. In 2005, he was awarded Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.

As with Shonibare’s sculptural pieces, the artist’s photographic works draw upon the Victorian era, but here the artist manipulates expectations by inserting himself into the scenes. Most recently, Shonibare has begun to work with moving images and he has created two cinematic works, “Un Ballo in Maschera” and “Odile and Odette,” in which he plays with the notions of black and white imbedded in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.” The Washington Ballet is choreographing a new piece, to be performed by South African rising star Andile Ndlovu, that will debut at the museum Feb. 6, 2010.

Shonibare has received numerous awards, including Barclays’ “Young Artists Award” (1992) and the Paul Hamlyn Visual Arts Award (1998), and was short-listed for the Citibank Photography Prize (1999). He received an Honorable Mention at the Venice Biennale (2001) and was short-listed for the celebrated Turner Prize. Shonibare was also recently selected for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square (2008). His works can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, The Tate Modern and the National Museum of African Art.

“Yinka Shonibare MBE” was organized and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. For more information on the exhibit, visit http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/view.html. A behind-the-scenes blog chronicling the installation of the exhibition can be found ahttp://shonibare-nmafa.blogspot.com.

A variation of the exhibition was shown at the Brooklyn Museum earlier this year after it premiered at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Australia. The exhibit will have no other venues in the United States after it leaves the Smithsonian.

About the National Museum of African Art

The National Museum of African Art is America’s first museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except Dec. 25. Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Avenue S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the National Museum of African Art’s Web site at africa.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 633-5285.


To look at previous exhibitions see Press

©2021. All images are property of Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA).