Yinka Shonibare CBE: African Spirits of Modernism
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA presents African Spirits of Modernism in June 2021, the British-Nigerian artist’s seventh solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery. Drawing on themes of human hybridity and transformation, these new works juxtapose icons of European Classical antiquity with African artefacts from Picasso’s own collection. The exhibition comprises quilts that explode with colour and polymorphous forms; three hand-painted sculptures depicting mythological creatures and a new series of African masks that explores the artist’s own identity as a “post-colonial hybrid”. These new works are accompanied by a historical archive that captures Paris’ burgeoning interest in African art during the 1920s.
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA was born in 1962 in London, England and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He lives and works in London. Shonibare was elected as a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London in 2013. In 2019 he was awarded the decoration of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire or CBE. In 2021 he received the prestigious Art Icon Award from Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Shonibare’s practice questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His signature material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys at Brixton market in London. Batik was originally 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 signifier of African identity and independence.
Shonibare was commissioned by Okwui Enwezor in 2002 to create one of his most recognised works Gallantry and Criminal Conversation at Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, which launched him on an international stage. In September 2008 his major mid-career survey commenced at the MCA Sydney and then toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
In May 2021, Shonibare will have his largest European survey exhibition, End of Empire at Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria.
September 15, 2021
September 13, 2021
September 09, 2021