Yinka Shonibare CBE

Yinka Shonibare CBE

British-Nigerian
b. 1962
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Overview

Describing himself as a ‘post-colonial hybrid’, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA creates work that explores issues of race and class through the media of sculpture, painting, photography, film, tapestries and public works.

Describing himself as a ‘post-colonial hybrid’, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA creates work that explores issues of race and class through the media of sculpture, painting, photography, film, tapestries and public works.

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA was born in 1962 in London, England and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He lives and works in London. Shonibare was elected as a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London in 2013. In 2019 he was awarded the decoration of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire or CBE. In 2021 he received the prestigious Art Icon Award from Whitechapel Gallery, London.  

Shonibare’s practice questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His signature material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys at Brixton market in London. Batik was originally inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a signifier of African identity and independence.

In May 2021 Shonibare will have his largest European survey exhibition, ‘End of Empire’ at Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria. Shonibare will have his seventh solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London in June 2021, titled ‘African Spirits of Modernism’. Drawing on themes of human hybridity and transformation, this new body of work juxtaposes icons of European Classical antiquity with African artefacts from Picasso’s own collection. 

Selected Artworks

Exhibitions

Yinka Shonibare CBE

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