Curator’s Tour of Yinka Shonibare MBE at the NMAfA & Conversation with Dr. Johnetta Cole
February 4, 2010

British-born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (b. 1962) works across diverse artistic media to explore ideas about African contemporary identity and the legacy of European colonialism in the present. Shonibare’s art has considered social class and aesthetics and has been characterized by recurring visual symbols such as “Dutch wax” fabric since the mid-1990s. This exhibition presented fourteen years of the artist’s career, encompassing painting, sculpture, large-scale mixed-media installations, photography, and film. Shonibare was awarded a Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2005, an award that he accepted with some irony, given the critical focus of his work for over a decade. He has chosen to adopt this title at all times, using it as a “platform” from which to explore further the colonial legacy, class structure, and social justice issues that remain in the country he calls his home.

Credit: Yinka Shonibare. “How Does a Girl Like You Get to Be a Girl Like You?,” 1995


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