Art Icon 2021: Yinka Shonibare CBE RA

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    Photo -® Yinka Shonibare Studio; Photographer James Mollison, 2014.

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  • Party Time by Yinka Shonibare

    Yinka Shonibare CBE, Party Time: Re-imagine America, 2008-09, Dimensions variable, Nine fibreglass mannequins, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, leather boots, reproduction wood furniture, cutlery, glassware, taxidermy peacock, Courtesy the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, Newark Museum, New Jersey, purchased in 2010 by Helen McMahon Brady Cutting Fund. Photographer unknown. 


On Monday 22 March 2021, Whitechapel Gallery hosted its first virtual gala celebration in honour of Yinka Shonibare CBE (b. 1962, London) supported by the Swarovski Foundation. The evening included a special performance by four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo and an online auction of leading contemporary artworks with our auction partner Phillips.

Yinka Shonibare CBE was the eighth artist to receive the prestigious Art Icon Award.

Shonibare 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.

All funds raised from the gala and auction support Whitechapel Gallery’s pioneering education and community programmes.

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Art Icon 2021 Charity Auction: Now Closed

16 phenomenal artworks and exclusive experiences were bid on in the 2021 Art Icon Online Auction, hosted by Phillips.

Bidding closed on Tuesday 23 March 2021 at 12 noon GMT.

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About The Swarovski Foundation

The Swarovski Foundation has supported the Whitechapel Gallery Youth Programme since 2015 as part of its commitment to championing creativity, enabling art education and celebrating the power of art to transform lives. The Youth Programme has empowered over 4,000 young people by giving them opportunities to explore contemporary art, meet creative professionals, and gain new skills and practical experience to open up career paths into the creative sector.

The Swarovski Foundation was set up in 2013 by Nadja Swarovski to honor the philanthropic spirit of Daniel Swarovski, who founded the crystal business 125 years ago in the Tyrolean Alps. Since then, five generations of the Swarovski family have reinforced the company’s commitment to philanthropy and charitable giving. The Swarovski Foundation’s mission is to build on this heritage by supporting charitable initiatives and organizations working in three areas: fostering culture and creativity, promoting human empowerment and preserving the environment.