Yinka Shonibare CBE

- Present

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA (b. 1962) in London, UK, studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London (1989) and received his MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London (1991).

His interdisciplinary practice uses citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities within the context of globalisation. Through examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, his works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.

In 2004, he  was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his mid-career survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, travelling in 2009 to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London and is in the permanent collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

In 2013, he was elected a Royal Academician and was awarded the honour of ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in 2019. His installation ‘The British Library’ was acquired by Tate in 2019 and is currently on display at Tate Modern, London.

Shonibare was awarded the prestigious Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Award in 2021. A major retrospective of his work opened at the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg in the same year followed by his co-ordination of The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, London which opened in September 2021.

The survey solo exhibition, Yinka Shonibare CBE: Planets in My Head, opened in April 2022 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan followed by the unveiling in June 2022 of a major new sculptural work, Wind Sculpture in Bronze I at Royal Djurgården, Stockholm.

In November 2022, Shonibare hosted the international launch of Guest Artists Space (G. A. S.) Foundation, a non-profit founded and developed by the artist. The Foundation is dedicated to facilitating cultural exchange through residencies, public programmes and exhibition opportunities for creative practitioners from around the world. The live/work residency spaces are set across sites in Lagos and a rural working farm in Ijebu, Ogun State.

To mark Sharjah Biennial’s 30th anniversary in February 2023, Shonibare was commissioned to create a series of new works for the exhibition. He also unveiled a new outdoor sculpture commissioned by the David Oluwale Memorial Association in Aire Park, Leeds as part of Leeds 2023.

In 2024, the Serpentine, London UK, presented a solo exhibition of works in their Serpentine South gallery titled Suspended States. Shonibare’s work is also featured at the Venice Biennale 2024 as part of the Nigerian Pavilion, in the group show: Nigeria Imaginary.

Shonibare’s works are in notable museum collections internationally, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and VandenBroek Foundation, The Netherlands.


Photo: Leon Foggitt

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