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Yinka Shonibare: Art of Africa

Article relating to an individual, 2004
Published by: Evening Standard, Metro Life
Year published: 2004
Number of pages: 2

image of Yinka Shonibare: Art of Africa

Feature on Turner Prize nominee, Yinka Shonibare, in the Evening Standard Metro Life listings magazine, for 15 - 21 October 2004. The feature, on pages 30 and 31 of the magazine, was written by journalist and writer Hephzibah Anderson and was accompanied by an uncredited full page portrait of the artist. Titled Art of Africa, the feature was introduced as: “Artist Yinka Shonibare uses the vibrant batiks of his West African roots to explore themes of race and cultural identity in modern Britain. Hephzibah Anderson meets the uncompromising Turner Prize nominee. Within the portrait of Shonibare was the quote ‘My work reflects a multiculturalism that’s unique to London’. The piece also featured an image of ‘The Swing’, by Shonibare “part of the Turner Prize 2004 exhibition”

The text begins with,

“When Yinka Shonibare first learned of his Turner Prize nomination, his initial reaction was ‘Oh no’. It’s not that he was entirely underwhelmed by the news, just he was a bit tied up when the call came through. In fact, he was surrounded by 30 lithe blonde dancers on the set of an 18th-century ballroom in Sweden, about to begin shooting his first film.
     ‘I really had to be tunnel-visioned to get the film made, so when I heard about the Turner nomination, I decided not to think about bit,’ he tells me, back in the art-stuffed kitchen of his E3 home.”

The piece continued in similar vein, in turns commenting on Shonibare’s practice and reflecting on his biography. Later on in the piece, we read that, “The idea that racism was rife [a reference to his alleged art school experiences] left him nonplussed, though. He saw it, but simply refused to feel it. ‘I thought it was rather funny that I was meant to be inferior,’ he chortles, a plummy lilt inflecting his rich, West African vowels.”

Art of Africa concludes, “With the reality of his Turner Prize nomination finally beginning to sink in, Shonibare decides he’s thrilled. Not only does it mean that more people will see his work, but most importantly, he laughs, it means he needn’t grow bitter in his old age. There doesn’t seem much chance of that.”

Related people

»  Yinka Shonibare MBE RA

Born, 1962 in London, England

Related exhibitions

»  Turner Prize 2004

Group show at Tate Britain. 2004

Related venues

»  Tate Britain

London, United Kingdom