Yinka Shonibare

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Yinka Shonibare
CBE, RA
Yinka Shonibare at the Royal Academy, October 2015.jpeg
Yinka Shonibare at the Royal Academy, October 2015
Born (1962-08-09) August 9, 1962 (age 56)
London, U.K.
NationalityBritish/Nigerian
MovementYoung British Artists
Websiteyinkashonibarembe.com

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA (born 1962) is a British-Nigerian artist living in the United Kingdom. His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. A hallmark of his art is the brightly coloured Dutch wax fabric he uses. Because he has a physical disability that paralyses one side of his body, Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction.

Life and career[edit]

Yinka Shonibare was born in London in 1962. When he was three years old, his family moved to Lagos, Nigeria, where his father practised law. At 17, he returned to Britain to do his A-levels at Redrice School.[1][2] Shonibare contracted transverse myelitis, an inflammation of the spinal cord, at the age of 18, which resulted in a long-term physical disability where one side of his body is paralysed.[3][4] He then studied Fine Art first at Byam Shaw School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and then at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he received his MFA, graduating as part of the Young British Artists generation. Following his studies, Shonibare worked as an arts development officer for Shape Arts, an organization which makes arts accessible to people with disabilities.[5][6]

He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial and at leading museums worldwide. He was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor at documenta XI in 2002 to create his most recognised work Gallantry and Criminal Conversation that launched him on an international stage.

In 2004, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize for his Double Dutch exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and for his solo show at the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Of the four nominees, he seemed to be the most popular with the general public that year. A BBC website poll, resulted in 64% of voters stating that his work was their favourite.[7]

Shonibare became an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths' College in 2003, was awarded an MBE in 2004,[8], received an Honorary Doctorate (Fine Artist) of the Royal College of Art in 2010 and was awarded a CBE in 2019[9]. He was elected Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in 2013.[10] He joined Iniva's Board of trustees in 2009.[11] He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial and internationally at leading museums worldwide. In September 2008, his major mid-career survey commenced at the MCA Sydney and toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York in June 2009 and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC in October 2009 . In 2010, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle became his first public art commission on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.[12]

On December 3, 2016, one of Shonibare's "Wind Sculpture" pieces was installed in front of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. The painted fiberglass work, titled "Wind Sculpture VII", is the first sculpture to be permanently installed outside of the NMAA's entrance.[13]

Work[edit]

Nelson's Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare during its occupancy of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square

Shonibare's work explores issues of colonialism alongside those of race and class, through a range of media which include painting, sculpture, photography, installation art, and, more recently, film and performance. He examines, in particular, the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Mining Western art history and literature, he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. People always took his work seriously and he said " if love someone fight for them with your hands"

A key material in Shonibare's work since 1994 is the brightly coloured "African" fabric (Dutch wax-printed cotton) that he buys himself from Brixton market in London. "But actually, the fabrics are not really authentically African the way people think," says Shonibare. "They prove to have a crossbred cultural background quite of their own. And it’s the fallacy of that signification that I like. It’s the way I view culture – it’s an artificial construct." Shonibare claims that the fabrics were first manufactured in Europe to sell in Indonesian markets and then they were sold in Africa, when they were rejected in Indonesia.[14] Today the main exporters of "African" fabric from Europe are based in Manchester in the UK and Vlisco Véritable Hollandais from Helmond in the Netherlands. He has these fabrics made up into European 18th-century dresses, covering sculptures of alien figures or stretched onto canvases and thickly painted over.

Shonibare's Trumpet Boy, a permanent acquisition displayed at The Foundling Museum, demonstrates the colorful fabric used in his works. The sculpture was created to fit the theme of 'found', reflecting on the museum's heritage,[15] through combining new and existing work with found objects kept for their significance.

Sometimes, he recreates famous paintings using headless dummies with the "Africanised" clothing instead of their original costumes, for example Gainsborough's Mr and Mrs Andrews Without Their Heads (1998),[16] Reverend on Ice (2005)[17] (after The Rev Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch by Raeburn) and The Swing (after Fragonard) (2001). [18] An added layer to the Fragonard piece is that the fabric used is printed with the Chanel logo (though it is obviously not real Chanel fabric).

Shonibare also takes carefully posed photographs and videos recreating famous British paintings or stories from literature but with himself taking centre stage as an alternative, black British dandy, e.g., A Rake's Progress by Hogarth which he translates into Diary of A Victorian Dandy (1998)[19] or Dorian Gray (2001)[20] after Oscar Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Considerably larger than a usual ship in a bottle, yet much smaller than the real HMS Victory, in fact a 1:30 scale model, Shonibare's Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, was "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."[21] The work was placed there on 24 May 2010 and remained until 30 January 2012. Being widely admired, in 2011 the Art Fund launched a campaign and successfully raised money for the purchase and relocation of the sculpture to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich where it now found its new permanent home.[22]

Other works include printed ceramics, and cloth-covered shoes, upholstery, walls and bowls.

In October 2013 Shonibare took part in Art Wars at the Saatchi Gallery curated by Ben Moore. The artist was issued with a stormtrooper helmet, which he transformed into a work of art. Proceeds went to the Missing Tom Fund set up by Ben Moore to find his brother Tom, who has been missing for more than ten years. The work was also shown on the Regent's Park platform as part of Art Below Regents Park.

The Goodman Gallery announced in 2018 that the Norval Foundation, South Africa's newest art museum based in Cape Town has made a permanent acquisition of Yinka Shonibare's Wind Sculpture (SG) III, making it the a first for the African continent. The sculpture will be unveiled in February 2019, increasing the British-Nigerian artist's visibility on the continent where he grew up.[23][1]

Shonibare has collaborated with Bellerby & Co, Globemakers.[24]

Selected artworks/exhibitions[edit]

Shonibare's first solo exhibition was in 1989 at Byam Shaw Gallery, London. During 2008–09, he was the subject of a major mid-career survey in both Australia and the USA; starting in September 2008 at the MCA Sydney and toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York in June 2009 and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC in October 2009. For the 2009 Brooklyn Museum exhibition, he created a site-specific installation titled Mother and Father Worked Hard So I Can Play which was on view in several of the Museum’s period rooms. Another site-specific installation, Party Time—Re-Imagine America: A Centennial Commission was simultaneously on view at the Newark Museum in Newark, New Jersey, from 1 July 2009, to 3 January 2010, in the dining room of the museum’s 1885 Ballantine House.

Disability[edit]

Shonibare is disabled,[53][5] physically incapable of making works himself, and relies upon a team of assistants, operating himself as a conceptual artist.[54]

Shonibare's disability has increased with age resulting in him using electric wheelchair. In later life, Shonibare has discussed his disability and its role within his work as a creative artist.[55] In 2013, Shonibare was announced as patron of the annual Shape Arts "Open" exhibition where disabled and non-disabled artists are invited to submit work in response to an Open theme.[56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Biography". Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA).
  2. ^ Gayford, Martin (19 May 2010). "Fourth Plinth: Yinka Shonibare interview". The Daily Telegraph. London.
  3. ^ "a unique journal for discussion of arts and culture". disability arts online. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  4. ^ Alakam, Japhet (1 May 2011). "Art-iculating Yinka Shonibare's hope in hopelessness". Vanguard. Nigeria. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b Wilson, Lucy (10 January 2003). "Yinka Shonibare | Artists' stories | Artists talking". a-n. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  6. ^ Rosanna, Greenstreet (30 April 2011). "Q&A: Yinka Shonibare". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Bishop, Tom (19 October 2004). "BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Light at end of the Turner show". Newsvote.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Yinka Shonibare, MBE in conversation with Raphael Chikukwa and Michele Robecchi". Contemporary Magazine. May 2006. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  9. ^ "New Year Honours 2019: Twiggy, Michael Palin and Gareth Southgate on list". BBC News. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  10. ^ "HONORARY FELLOWS OF GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE" (PDF). Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE". Iniva. 1 February 2009. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Blain|Southern | Artists | Yinka Shonibare MBE". Blainsouthern.com. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  13. ^ "National Museum of African Art Will Be Home to New Landmark Sculpture on the National Mall". Smithsonian. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  14. ^ Downey, Anthony (Spring 2004). "Yinka Shonibare in Conversation" (PDF). Wasafiri. 19 (41). doi:10.1080/02690050408589884. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  15. ^ a b "FOUND - Foundling Museum".
  16. ^ "Give & Take – Artist Information". Vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Reverend on Ice". Yinka-shonibare.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  18. ^ a b c "Turner Prize 2004: Yinka Shonibare". Tate. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  19. ^ "Diary of a Victorian Dandy". Iniva. 29 October 1998. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Dorian Gray up close". Yinka-shonibare.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  21. ^ a b "Mayor of London presents Fourth Plinth | Yinka Shonibare MBE". London.gov.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Campaign closes as permanent new home secured for Nelson's Ship in a Bottle! – Captain's Log – Help bring Nelson's Ship in a Bottle to Greenwich". Artfund.org. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  23. ^ "Norval Foundation Purchase Africa's First Yinka Shonibare Wind Sculpture". www.salonprivemag.com. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Recent Work with Yinka Shonibare – Globemakers". Bellerbyandco.com. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  25. ^ "Double Dutch". inIVA. Archived from the original on 5 November 2004.
  26. ^ "Dressing Down". inIVA. Archived from the original on 4 June 2007.
  27. ^ "Yinka Shonibare – 'Cha Cha Cha'". La Repubblica of the Arts. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  28. ^ "Yinka Shonibare – 'Feather Pink'". La Repubblica of the Arts. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Diary of a Victorian Dandy: 21.00 Hours". inIVA. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007.
  30. ^ R. J. Preece (15 September 2009). "Yinka Shonibare at Ikon Gallery (1999) | Review of exhibition Dressing Down in Birmingham, England". artdesigncafé. First published in Sculpture magazine, 18(6), p. 77, 1999. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  31. ^ "Dysfunctional Family, Yinka Shonibare". Yinka-shonibare.co.uk. 8 October 2000. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  32. ^ Universes in Universe – Pat Binder, Gerhard Haupt (4 November 2001). "Yinka Shonibare, Authentic / Ex-centric". Universes-in-universe.de. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  33. ^ "Dorian Gray". Yinka-shonibare.co.uk. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  34. ^ "Yinka Shonibare, "Henry James and Hendrik C. Andersen", 2001". La Repubblica of the Arts. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  35. ^ "Yinka Shonibare, "The Three Graces"". La Repubblica of the Arts. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  36. ^ Universes in Universe – Pat Binder, Gerhard Haupt (15 September 2002). "Documenta 11: Yinka Shonibare, Binding Brewery". Universes-in-universe.de. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  37. ^ "Turner prize shortlist 2004: Yinka Shonibare, Maxa 2003 | Guardian Unlimited – Arts". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  38. ^ "Yinka Shonibare | Play With Me". likeyou.com. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007.
  39. ^ "Yinka Shonibare: Mobility". James Cohan Gallery. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  40. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE on Artabase". Artabase.net. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  41. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  42. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE || National Museum of African Art". Nmafa.si.edu. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  43. ^ "Yinka Shonibare in conversation with Tim Barringer". Grace Barrett Fine Art. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  44. ^ "Yinka Shonibare Nelson's Ship in a Bottle". Slashstroke Magazine /. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  45. ^ "Yorkshire Sculpture Park". Ysp.co.uk. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  46. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE at Greenwich : Events : What's on". RMG. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
  47. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE Rage of the Ballet Gods". James Cohan Gallery. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  48. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)". Yale Center for British Art. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  49. ^ Joy, Alicia (24 October 2016). "BODY/PLAY/POLITICS At Yokohama Museum Of Art". theculturetrip. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  50. ^ "RA Family Album Yinka Shonibare MBE RA". Royal Academy. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  51. ^ "Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I". Public Art Fund. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  52. ^ "Yinka Shonibare CBE: The American Library". Speed Art Museum. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  53. ^ "Yinka Shonibare: Adam Reynolds bursary". disability arts online. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  54. ^ Sontag, Deborah (17 June 2009). "Headless Bodies from a Bottomless Imagination". The New York Times.
  55. ^ Shonibare, Yinka (4 January 2013). "What I see in the mirror". The Guardian.
  56. ^ "Shape Open Exhibition Patron announced". Shape Arts. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Shonibare, Yinka; Kent, Rachel; Hobbs, Robert C.; Downey, Anthony (2008). Yinka Shonibare, MBE. Munich: Prestel. OCLC 228358419.
  • Shonibare, Yinka; Guldemond, Jaap; Mackert, Gabriele; van Kooij, Barbera (2004). Yinka Shonibare: Double Dutch. Rotterdam: Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. OCLC 55649109.

External links[edit]