Exhibited for the first time in London, the paintings depict angels with African ritual masks over their faces. Shonibare combines powerful imagery from Christian European and African mythologies in order to create a hybrid: what the artist calls 'a third myth'. The result is an arresting interruption of classical depictions of angels in Shonibare's distinctive style.
Shonibare has also participated in curating the exhibition, emphasising materials and craft that are inspired by artists surroundings or memories of their upbringing. This includes a room that focuses on inclusion and diversity, resonating with the artist's own interest in culture, history and identity. Shonibare has placed works by emerging artists and contemporary African artists who were previously unknown to the Royal Academy alongside well known Academicians.
For the duration of the exhibition Yinka Shonibare MBE's momentous 'Wind Sculpture VI' is installed in the Royal Academy Courtyard.
The exhibition runs from 13 June until 20 August 2017