Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare’s work is very inspiring. Without any explanation the message in his work is very clear to understand. His website is yinkashonibarembe.com

Shonibare explores issues of race and class through a range of media that includes sculpture, painting, photography, and installation art. Because of his disability, Shonibare is physically incapable of carrying out the making of the work himself, and relies upon a team of assistants to realize his artistic vision for him. In this context, conceptualism takes on a new angle.

A key material in Shonibare’s work since 1994 are the brightly coloured ‘African’ fabrics (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.” (2) Today the main exporters of ‘African’ fabric from Europe are based in Manchester in the UK and Vlisco[7] from Helmond in the Netherlands.

He has these fabrics made up into Victorian dresses, covering sculptures of alien figures or stretched onto canvases and thickly painted over.

Sometimes, famous paintings are re-created using headless dummies with the ‘Africanised’ clothing instead of their original costumes, for example Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews Without Their Heads (1998),[8]Reverend on Ice (2005)[9] (after The Rev Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch attributed to Sir Henry Raeburn) and The Swing (after Fragonard) (2001).[10] An added layer to the Fragonard piece is that the fabric used is printed with the ‘Dior‘ logo (though it is obviously not real Dior fabric).

Shonibare also takes carefully posed photographs and videos recreating famous British paintings or stories from literature e.g., The Rake’s Progress by Hogarth or Dorian Grey by Wilde but with himself taking centre stage as an alternative, black British dandy. Examples of these works are Diary of A Victorian Dandy (1998)[11] and Dorian Gray (2001)[12] 

Text from Wikipedia 


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