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Yinka Shonibare CBE RA
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

Over the past decade, Shonibare has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and installation, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through a sharp political commentary of the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Shonibare uses wry citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities. In this body of works, Shonibare references iconic classical figures whose clothes have been hand-painted in the style of batik designs. Importantly these batik designs have been altered by the artists into new forms. Within these works, Shonibare places the pattern directly onto the skin. 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.