Meet Artist Yinka Shonibare from London
By Kinjal Trivedi
Over the course of his career, the London-based artist Yinka Shonibare, CBE, has made films, paintings, installations, and drawings that serve as “a critique of Empire” by disrupting notions of identity and culture.
Shonibare describes the history of the fabrics, which were originally produced in Indonesia, but marketed to West Africa, where they found an eager consumer base.
“I like the fact that the fabrics are multilayered,” adding that though they were made in East Asia, the fabrics have since been “appropriated by Africa, and now represent African identities.”
“Things are not always what they seem,” he adds at another point.
The artist, who grew up in an affluent family, and whose great-great-grandfather was a Nigerian chief, also incorporates aspects of his personal life into his work, drawing on themes of disability, vanity, and class. In his work, he often presents contradictory viewpoints, as in his film Odile and Odette, a riff on the ballet Swan Lake.