Yinka Shonibare CBE
End of Empire
One of the most prominent and versatile artists working in Great Britain today, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA (London, GB, 1962) makes work that scrutinizes the legacy of Western colonialism and its lingering traces.
The British-Nigerian artist rose to renown with installations featuring headless lifesized figures in historic costumes tailored out of colorful batik-dyed fabrics. A self-described “postcolonial hybrid,” Shonibare zooms in on episodes from art and history, primarily from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, employing subversive creative strategies to visualize them in tragicomic scenes of human activity.
Shonibare’s multimedia oeuvre probes constructions of race, class, and national and cultural identities through a sustained study of the historic interdependencies between Africa and Europe. The major solo exhibition gathers some sixty works from the past thirty years.
Yinka Shonibare is laureate of the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Award 2021.
An extensive publication (DE/EN) was been published in conjunction with the exhibition, which can be bought at our online-shop.
The exhibition is complemented by a CREATIVE SPACE designed by the museum education department: Unravelling Stories
Raise the curtain for lavish clothing, colourful fabrics and playful, moving figures! The vivid patterns and period costumes in which Yinka Shonibare CBE drapes his sculptures take us into a sensual world of textiles. What is the story behind crinolines, frock-coats and the so-called Dutch wax batik fabrics? In the museum education room, Creative Space,visitors of all ages can explore the work of Yinka Shonibare CBE and become creative. A Tate Kids video illustrates the artist’s biography and his fascinating path to art. In short films the artist himself and experts talk about the history of the Dutch wax batik fabrics, the unequal power relations between Africa and Europe and the way colors and imagery can express identity and our clothes change with time. What do the fabrics feel like and what hidden details can be found in the patterns of the Dutch fabric manufacturer Vlisco that has been exporting fabrics to Africa since 1846? Our visitors are invited to discover more about the various patterns themselves.
Rococo-inspired garments from the costume collection of the Salzburg Festival make it possible for everyone to relate to Shonibare’s preference for theatrical staging. By dressing up and taking on another role, our visitors can learn how clothing changes one’s own perception. Shonibare’s artworks open up new perspectives on the complex interrelationships of world history. In addition, they inspire creative work and encourage individual play with colours and forms at the Creative Space.