Yinka Shonibare CBE RA participates in Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present
'Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present' is centered on ideas of postcolonialism. Conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by Hoor Al Qasami, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, the biennial brings together more than 300 works by over 150 artists and collectives.
SB15 explores nuanced conversations around postcolonial subjectivity, the body as a repository of memories, processes of creolisation and hybridisation, the restitution of museumised objects, the racialising gaze, transgenerational continuities, global modernisms, indigeneity and decolonisation.
To mark the Biennial's 30th anniversary, 30 artists have been commissioned to create new works for the exhibition. These include John Akomfrah, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Carolina Caycedo, Coco Fusco, Mona Hatoum, Lubaina Himid, Isaac Julien, Ibrahim Mahama, Kerry James Marshall, Steve McQueen, Wangechi Mutu, Philippe Parreno, Doris Salcedo, Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Nari Ward, and Carrie Mae Weems.
'Decolonised Structures' by Yinka Shonibare CBE RA is a new body of work which investigates the growing activism surrounding the decolonisation of public spaces, evoking pressing discussions around contemporary Britain's relationship with its colonial past and the institutional and structural racism it conceived.
The series reimagines seven public statues currently shaping the cityscape of London: Lord Colin Campbell, Sir Robert Clive, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, Earl Herbert Kitchener, General Charles Napier, Earl Frederick Roberts, and Queen Victoria. The slightly smaller than life-sized replicas are transformed by the artist's uniquely designed signature Dutch wax batik patterns, hand painted directly onto the surface of the sculpture. Often considered as authentic African products, the hybrid history of the fabrics which originated in Indonesia, were mass-produced by the Dutch and then sold to Britain's West African colonies is deeply rooted in the colonial ties between places and powers. Stripping these public monuments of their original marble and bronze, materials signifying honour and heroism, Shonibare divests them of their power and inspires genuine debate about the legacy of colonialism and historical education.
Old Al Diwan Al Amiri, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates