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Yinka Shonibare has his moment in the sun with shows on three continents

The artist has exhibitions opening in the UK, US, Netherlands and Nigeria this autumn

by Anny Shaw  |  29 August 2016
Yinka Shonibare has his moment in the sun with shows on three continents
Yinka Shonibare in his studio. Photo: Wig Worland
With six exhibitions and several new commissions on the way, it is fair to say that Yinka Shonibare is busier than ever. This autumn, the London- and Lagos-based artist has shows at Stephen Friedman Gallery in London, the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, the Gemeentemuseum Helmond and the British Council in Lagos—Shonibare’s first solo exhibition in Nigeria.

The original scale model of Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, which was unveiled in 2010 for the Fourth Plinth project in Trafalgar Square, is among the works to go on display at the Yale Center for British Art on 1 September (until 11 December). The show will focus on Shonibare’s interest in Admiral Lord Nelson. The artist returns to Yale next February, for an exhibition about three Georgian princesses: Charlotte, Caroline and Augusta. The show, called Enlightened Princesses, is due to travel to Kensington Palace in June 2017.

Also opening in September is an exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Helmond. Paradise Beyond (20 September-12 February 2017) coincides with a show of Vlisco textiles; the nearby factory produces the Dutch wax batik fabric that Shonibare often uses in his work.

For his show at Stephen Friedman Gallery (28 September-5 November), Shonibare has created sculptural appropriations of Michelangelo’s David, Venus de Milo and Myron’s Discobolus, hand-painted with batik patterns. The new works were inspired by the Cast Courts at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

  • Yinka Shonibare, St Peter, 2016. Photo: © Yinka Shonibare MBE, courtesy, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • Yinka Shonibare, African Joan of Arc, 2016. Photo: © Yinka Shonibare MBE, courtesy, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • Yinka Shonibare, St Peter, 2016. Photo: © Yinka Shonibare MBE, courtesy, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • Yinka Shonibare, Rose of Lima, 2016. Photo: © Yinka Shonibare MBE, courtesy, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
  • Yinka Shonibare, Voodoo Sebastian, 2016. Photo: © Yinka Shonibare MBE, courtesy, Yinka Shonibare MBE and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
A series of prints that fuse drawings of European saints with batik patterns, African ritual masks and extracts of stocks and shares from the Financial Times will also go on show. “First of all [I] think about picture making itself: the history of Modernism and the aesthetic of the mask in Modernist painting. So we are going back to Picasso. And then taking that signifier of religious ritual, which is the mask, and overlapping one religious symbol with another religious symbol,” Shonibare says.

Visitors to London’s Royal Academy can also see his bold design wrapped around the façade of the Burlington Gardens building, which is currently under construction.

Meanwhile, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Nigeria will see a Wind Sculpture installed at the Ndubuisi Kanu Park in Lagos from November 2016 until January 2017. Shonibare will also present three of his films.

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