major yinka shonibare MBE solo exhibition at daegu art museum, south korea

30 May 2015
Daegu Art Museum will present a solo show of British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, the artist's largest museum presentation in Asia.

Approximately 80 of his pieces including sculptures, two-dimensional works, installations, and video works will be on display, showcasing his extensive range of art. The exhibition will be comprised of six sub-themes: money, play, empire, conflict, environment, and love.

Shonibare employs an adaption of individual elements upon which our common impressions of African people have been predicated in his own artistic idioms. His mannequins wearing traditional African costumes in bright, loud colors are a symbol, metaphor, and implication of the violent imperialism Western powers have committed in the past century toward the "black continent". Hidden behind the mannequins' humorous, hilarious actions is the artist's criticism of the "monster of outrageous capitalism" dominating the spirits of people around the world. The Daegu Art Museum has paid special attention to his works since the topics he raises such as colonialism, post-colonialism, globalization, and cultural identity are inextricably bound up withKorea's historical and cultural contexts.

As in the African continent, deep scars caused by imperialist plunders are still left in many Asian countries' social structures and Asian people's collective consciousness. Such scars, however, remain untreated and forgotten by capitalism's excessive stimulation, causing Asians to completely lose their identities. After all, the severance of tradition and history that resulted from physical invasion and plunder tragically causes spiritual depredation in Asia. This tragic situation in Asia is none other than what Shonibare criticizes about Africa's political, spiritual and cultural circumstances in relation with Western powers. This accounts for his work's universality.

Past history is important because the social structures of today have stemmed from it. As such, we have to reflect our present social systems onto the mirror of history since a future society will be determined by our present aspects. In his work, Shonibare presents how the enormous saw-toothed wheels of history continuously and organically operate. His artistic language will serve as a special momentum to bring Korean and East Asian viewers to the recovery of their historical consciousness, cultural identity, and self-reflection.

The exhibition runs from 30 May to October 2015

Daegu Art Museum website