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Pledge Allegiance to a Flag?

Group show at London Printworks Trust. 1996 - 1997
Date: 20 December, 1996 until 31 January, 1997
Curator: Stewart Russell
Organiser: London Printworks Trust

London Printworks Trust was the venue for ‘Pledge Allegiance to a Flag?’, an important exhibition taking place 20 December 1996 - 31 January 1997. The exhibition, curated by Stewart Russell, featured contributions by Ade AdekolaYinka Shonibare and Mark Wallinger. From the catalogue preface: “For “Pledge Allegiance to a Flag?” Mark Wallinger, Yinka Shonibare and Ade Adekola were commissioned to create new works discussing contemporary attitudes towards the use of national flags in multicultural Britain.”

Elsewhere in the catalogue:  “Since finishing his post graduate studies, at the Architecture Association in 1992, Adekola’s work has crossed many disciplines: architecture, product design, technology innovation, medical sensors, engineering, electronics and computing.

In addition to this work Adekola has had articles published in New Scientist, presented papers on smart structures an dynamic systems and in 1994 received the Du Pont International Award for Innovation.

In response to the Pledge Allegiance to a Flag? brief, Adekola looked to responsive building systems and smart materials to construct an environment which would monitor viewers’ psychological responses to projected images and sound. The work questions the need for flags in 1996 as Adekola considers identity to be global, no longer defined by geography nor any one cultural or historical heritage.

Ade’s idea was developed by a group of individuals with skills in clinical research, photography, fine art and architecture, individually, and as a group, contributing to the development and production of the original idea. the group is Nick Clark, Tim Hardy, John Rees and Anthony Ward.”

Shonibare’s contribution was one of his most significant works of the mid 1990s - ‘Victorian Anthropologist’s Parlour’, which was subsequently included in the Johnannesburg Biennale of 1997.

The Pledge Allegiance to a Flag? catalogue stated, “Since finishing post graduate studies at Goldsmiths in 1991, Shonibare has been regularly exhibiting his hybrid installations and paintings, questioning the authenticity of origin and revelling in the mongrelisation of Britain’s post colonial cultural heritage.

For  Pledge Allegiance to a Flag? Shonibare researched Victorian interiors and with the help of the V&A and the Geffreye museum has created an opulent ‘Victorian Anthropologist’s Parlour’ where all the fabrics are newly created African batiks with motifs of black football players ‘in action’ for European clubs.

Shonibare traces the origins of African batik fabrics, through Indonesia, Holland and Britain to West Africa and then back to Britain to illustrate that in 1997 our cultural heritage is rarely clear cut.”

Selected exhibitions since 1988 include Tenth Biennale of Sydney, Australia, 1996; Sun, Sea and Sand BAC Gallery London 1996; Painting, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, 1996; the Art of African Textiles: Technology, Tradition and Lurex, Barbican London, 1995; Barclays Young Artists, Serpentine Gallery, London, 1992.”


Related items

click to show details of Pledge Allegiance to a Flag? catalogue

»  Pledge Allegiance to a Flag? catalogue

Catalogue relating to an exhibition, 1996

People in this exhibition

»  Ade Adekola

Born, 1966 in Nigeria

»  Yinka Shonibare MBE CBE RA

Born, 1962 in London, England

»  Mark Wallinger

Born, 1959 in Chigwell, England

Exhibition venues

»  London Printworks Trust

London, United Kingdom