Modern artists to know: Yinka Shonibare


Lucy Sloan, Copy editor

In a society plagued by xenophobia, racial tension and the struggle to claim an identity, the work of Yinka Shonibare is incessantly relevant. Shonibare is a sculptor, painter, photographer and filmmaker whose work revolves around socioeconomic identity, focusing on race and nationality.
Shonibare was born in England but raised in Nigeria, so his work often explores African identity and the effects of European colonialism.
Shonibare’s sculptures are easily identifiable: surrealistic human figures unified by vibrant, striking colors convey a sense of movement and life despite their inherent stillness. The sculptures are characterized by Shonibare’s use of African batik fabric along with symbolic objects.
Shonibare’s photography is equally striking, often displaying dramatic, staged scenes that retain the same sense of fantastical absurdity as his sculpture.
Shonibare’s art is displayed across the globe.
He was awarded the decoration of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and was nominated for a Turner prize.