Yinka Shonibare CBE
Diadumenos, 2019
Fibreglass sculpture, hand-painted with Dutch wax pattern, bespoke hand-coloured globe, gold leaf and steel base plate
Work: 134 x 67.5 x 33.5 cm

Shonibare is renowned for creating dynamic figures in motion, dressed in Victorian costumes reproduced in batik fabric. However in his recent works referencing iconic classical figures, rather than wearing clothes, the classical figures’ bodies have been hand-painted with the batik designs. Importantly, these have been designed or altered by the artist. These recent works place the pattern directly onto the skin. In doing so Shonibare clashes the ideological implications of the textile with classical sculpture. Importantly, unlike previous works that bore antique globes in place of a head, here the figures have contemporary globes that map a post colonial landscape. This deftly denies any notion of race and concentrates our attention on the movement of the pattern-adorned body and its connotations of sexuality, masculinity, athleticism and the ideal body.