Interviews

Questions with Yinka Shonibare, CBE

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WEST AFRICA

YINKA SHONIBARE, CBE

Questions with Yinka Shonibare, CBE.

Yinka Shonibare is a British-Nigerian contemporary artist known for his sculptural installations that explore issues of Post-colonialism. Shonibare’s work explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and film. Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His trademark material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys in London. This type of fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the1960s, the material became a new sign of African identity and independence.

How has the global pandemic affected you and your work?

“The global pandemic has created a space to focus and to try new approaches to my work in a new studio setting. I’ve started making new photo montages and I also have a bit more time for research, as having work meetings during the day, although necessary, used to cut into my time considerably. “

How has the global pandemic affected you and your work?

“The global pandemic has created a space to focus and to try new approaches to my work in a new studio setting. I’ve started making new photo montages and I also have a bit more time for research, as having work meetings during the day, although necessary, used to cut into my time considerably. “

WIND SCULPTURE I 2013

Steel armature with hand painted fiberglass resin cast

What has been the biggest lesson from your career thus far?

“The biggest lesson from my career is that you have to be quite focussed in your ideas and your ambition for your work. 

You have to remain determined in executing your ideas in spite of the seemingly impossible obstacles and maintain a clear vision in order to pursue them.”

Can you tell us about your plans with G.A.S. Foundation and how they may have been affected by the global pandemic?

“The opening of G.A.S. Foundation’s Lagos building has inevitably been delayed due to the pandemic, but we now plan to be welcoming residents in 2022, instead of 2021. “

The Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation (hyperlink here, https://www.guestartistsspace.com/home-one-pager) is a non-profit dedicated to facilitating international artistic and cultural exchange and developing creative practices through artist residencies and international collaborations.

Based on an idea Shonibare began developing back in 2011, G.A.S. Foundation was established in 2019, launched under the umbrella of The Yinka Shonibare Foundation (UK).

Building works for both artist residency spaces in Lagos and Ijebu are now already underway.

Author

Azeeza Sanni is the General Manager of Art News Africa. She is a graduate of Middlesex University of Mauritius & Monash South Africa. You can reach her with information/requests on mail@artnewsafrica.com.

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