Skip to Content
September 8-11, 2022   Javits Center

Yinka Shonibare CBE

Material SG (I)


Curator's Statement

Yinka Shonibare CBE's Material (SG) I (2019), presented by James Cohan (New York), is part of a series (or, as he calls them, “generations”) of wind sculptures that explore the notion of harnessing motion and freezing it in a moment of time. Equating the movement of wind with the movement of people, Shonibare speaks of them as natural metaphors for migration. However, their bright pattern of reds and greens—based on the type of Dutch wax textile that has become a signature of the artist’s work—also connects them to the discourse around the constructed nature of cultural identity and global interdependency that has been at the core of Shonibare’s work for decades.

About the Artist

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA was born in London in 1962 and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to the UK to study Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London and Goldsmiths College, London, where he received his Master’s in Fine Art.

Over the past decades, Shonibare has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary 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.