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Yinka Shonibare

Updated: Mar 10, 2019




Artist 82

Yinka Shonibare Hybrid Identity sculptural installations


Yinka Shonibare is a British-Nigerian artist living in the United Kingdom. His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. He is known for his sculptural installations that explore issues of Post-colonialism


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.


Shonibare’s work is a conversation on colonialism, race, authenticity, class, disability and beauty.

This multi-disciplinary artist constantly reimagines his process across sculpture, painting, photography and film, with his signature ‘African’ Batik fabric as the axis of his practice.



It is the ironic distinction of the Indonesian-inspired, Dutch-produced, exported fabric as a symbol of ‘African’ identity and independence, that sparked Shonibare’s artistic oeuvre.


"I do have a physical disability and I was determined that the scope of my creativity should not be restricted purely by my physicality. It would be like an architect choosing to build only what could be physically built by hand." says Shonibare.



Shonibare readily acknowledges physical disability as part of his identity but creates work in which this is just one strand of a far richer weave.



Because of his disability, he is physically incapable of carrying out the making of the work himself, and relies upon a team of assistants to realise his artistic vision for him. In this context, conceptualism takes on a new angle.


“My work addresses the idea of having this fusion or hybrid cultural identity and what that produces,” he explained. “People always want to categorize things: I’m much more interested in this idea of a hybrid.”






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