This exhibition investigates ideas of race, class, power and migration. Shonibare's mastery lies in his ability to approach sensitive political, historical and cultural topics with a lightness of touch and humour. His work is vibrant and visually seductive, making the subjects he broaches accessible. The figures he depicts in his installations and sculpture are dynamic, caught in motion and clad in Victoriana costumes reproduced in batik fabric. Shonibare has a strong interest in history and each work navigates a specific idea or moment in time. The group of works here depict scenes of crises and problems essential to human nature throughout time: a search for paradise, greed, war and revolution and the displacement of native peoples.
Shonibare has used patterned Dutch wax batik fabrics in his work since the 1990s. The fabrics were inspired by Indonesian design, produced in Helmond and sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the materials became signifiers of African identity and independence. Shonibare uses the textiles to represent the hybridity of identity as much as the implications of colonialism, and the coloured fabric has become a hallmark of his work.
The exhibition runs form 20 September 2016 until 12 February 2017.