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at home: Artists in Conversation | Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)

Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA), artist, in conversation with Martina Droth, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Center.
Join us for lively and inspiring conversations with some of today’s notable artists. at home: Artists in Conversation brings together curators and artists to discuss various artistic practices and insights into their work.
Born in London, UK, in 1962, and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Shonibare explores issues of race, class, and the legacies of colonialism through his painting, sculpture, photography, and film. The consistent use of brightly patterned, wax-printed African batik fabric is distinctive of his work. A product of global trade and imperial markets, this material was initially inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch, and sold to the colonies in West Africa, before becoming a new sign of African identity and independence in the 1960s.
Shonibare studied fine art at Byam Shaw School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design) and received his MFA from Goldsmiths College in London. He was a Turner Prize nominee in 2004, and also that year was awarded the decoration of Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), a title he appended to his professional name. In 2013 he was elected as a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London, and in 2019 he received the honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). His works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Tate, London; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution Washington D.C.; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shonibare created the sculpture “Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina” especially for “Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World,” an exhibition on view at the Center and Kensington Palace in 2017. The Center presented an installation of Shonibare’s work in 2016, featuring the original scale model of “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle,” which he produced for the “Fourth Plinth” in London’s Trafalgar Square. Unveiled in 2010, this was the first commission in the series granted to a Black artist, and the first to directly engage with the history of the square, and the complicated legacies of imperial narratives.

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