Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yinka Shonibare

I'm long overdue in a post on the amazing contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare whose work is as breathtaking as it is thought-provoking.  Shonibare is a London sculptural and instillation artist who deals with the theme of class and globalization, more specifically the complicated relationship between Africa and Europe.  So you will often seen African-style textiles on his sculptures which take the form of something commonly European. 

Long before he had his giant Ship in a Bottle sculpture in Trafalgar Square, Shonibare was playing with eighteenth century imagery, with astonishing results:

Here are some of his work that reference eighteenth century paintings.  Can you recognize all of them?

Others are just plain fantastic:


  1. Oh, that is amazing! I hadn't heard of him before.

    I recognize all of them, but the second one drives me mad! I can't recall its title, nor whether it was Watteau, Boucher or Fragonard. My bet is on Watteau.

    The rest are:
    Raeburn, The Skating Minister
    Goya, Sleep of Reason
    Fragonard, The Swing
    Gainsborough, Mr & Mrs Andrews

  2. Wonderful! I only recognize the Fragonard.

  3. I hadn't heard of this artist before either. It's fantastic! I believe the second is also Fragonard, "Love Letter."

  4. These are incredible--thanks for introducing me to this art (I DO wish for more heads, tho:)

  5. I have a Yinka Shonibare poster right across from me, the dueling gowns image :)

  6. I knew you'd like Yinka's work :) Have you seen Isabelle de Borchgrave's art as well? She makes historical garments out of paper. I've seen them in life and they are soo realistic.

    PS. I kind of abandoned interacting with webland for awhile but I've remained a devoted reader :)

  7. Ooo yes I have seen her work and it's just amazing, isn't it!