Yinka Shonibare CBE RA and Iwona Blazwick

In Conversation

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    Yinka Shonibare in his London studio. Photo: James Mollison

Past Event

This event was on Wed 24 March, 7pm

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Yinka Shonibare’s work critically explores issues of race and class through painting, sculpture, photography and film, often questioning cultural and national definitions. The British-Nigerian artist speaks with former Whitechapel Gallery Director Iwona Blazwick about his work and exceptional career to date, on the occasion of his receipt of the 2021 Art Icon Award. 

About Yinka Shonibare CBE

Yinka Shonibare CBE is internationally renowned for his multi-layered work that explores issues of race, class and colonialism through his multi-disciplinary practice. Often incorporating references from Western art history and literature, his work questions the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities within the context of globalisation. His signature material is the vibrantly coloured ‘Dutch wax’ batik fabric. Batik was inspired by Indonesian designs, manufactured in Holland and then sold to colonies in West Africa before becoming a signifier for African identity in the 1960s.   
Shonibare lives and works in East London. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004. His sculpture, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, was the 2010 Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square and is now on permanent display at The National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. His monumental installation, The British Library (2014), which celebrates the contribution made by immigrants to Britain, has been on permanent display at Tate Modern since 2019. Recently, he has had solo exhibitions in Beijing, Singapore and London, and will have a major survey exhibition at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg in May 2021.  He is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; James Cohan Gallery, New York; and Goodman Gallery, South Africa.