YINKA SHONIBARE MBE // 27th February 2012
In his multi‐part exhibition at James Cohan Gallery in New York, British‐born Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE explore the concept of destiny as it relates to themes of desire, yearning, love, power and sexual repression. His show is made of new sculptures, photoworks and also stars the premiere of a film.
Famous for his multi-faceted conceptual pieces, Shonibare continues to work on patterns of history and how they repeat in our own time. Following the installation of his much acclaimed work “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in London, the artist continue drawing his attention to Lord Nelson, the icone of the British Empire at its apotheosis. What seems to interest Shonibare is the similar fate of Nelson – whose destiny was to fall a hero at the Battle of Trafalgar when British Empire crashed – and the society and socio-economic context as it is today. “The Imperial West is in decline at a time of great economic challenges as we see the rise of the East. The old world is in decline and new worlds are emerging through the economic successes of China and India and the revolutions in the Arab world. We are re‐experiencing a new Age of the ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’.” To build the comparison, the artist turns to today’s newspapers and considers – after their reading – that the headlines could have been the same at Nelson’s time. History repeating as says the song.
Born in 1962, Yinka Shonibare MBE lives and works in London, UK. He received the prestigious Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square from the mayor of London in 2009, and his midcareer survey exhibition originated in 2008 at the MCA Sydney, Australia and traveled to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian through 2009. Upcoming in 2012 are two important public art commissions in London to be announced shortly. Shonibare was awarded the title of Member of the British Empire in 2005. His work was included in the African pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and he was a Turner Prize finalist in 2004.