Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Yinka Shonibare ~ The Post Colonial Hybrid

First of all, if you've never heard of Yinka Shonibare, slap yourself quickly. Thanks. He is a Nigerian contemporary artist/ visual GENIUS. He was born in London but in 1962 but moved to Lagos at the age of three and lived in Lagos till he was 17. He moved back to England and attended the Byam Shaw School of Art, where most of his English teachers asked why he chose western influences as opposed to 'authentic african art'. These were questions he had problems answering seeing as he saw himself as a cosmopolitan citizen. He came across what he believed to be 'authentic african' fabric (popularly known as 'ankara') in a Brixton store but soon realized that the 'dutch wax' fabrics he chose to use in his art pieces was originally manufactured in Holland by the Dutch. The mass produced fabrics failed to appeal to the Indonesians and so the Dutch merchants began selling the fabrics in West Africa. Many people think these are authentic 'African fabrics' and he likes the irony this brings to his art. Authentic or not, West Africa put ankara on the MAP- so blah blah to wherever its 'originally' from. I adore his vision, his use of color & also wouldn't mind knowing who his 'tailor' is. ;-)  

Shonibare on his work~ "the idea for me using Victoriana as a metaphor came from Margaret Thatcher in the 80's was talking about returning to Victorian values."     "I was thinking: Okay, so where do I stand? I live in England. I'm from Nigeria. Nigeria was colonised by the British. The Victorian era was the height of colonialism in Africa. How do I relate to the repressive Victorian regime?So Victorian for me actually means conquest and imperialism. And so, in a sense, it is actually my fear. So what I then decided to do was actually confront my fear and face my fear. And the way to confront my fear, to actually parody that fear. A lot of the work that came out of my desire to face my fear and to turn it into parody. The irony of all of this is that -- since my work has actually been about what imperialism means and how that relates to my own identity -- it's quite ironic that I was then made a member of the order of the British Empire." Yinka on Chris Boyds Blog


Mofe F said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mofe F said...

Call me ignorant but I never knew Ankara originated from the Dutch. Very interesting post.

Gidan Nodza said...

Love the "Dutch" Ankara bouquet and his "tailors" are on POINT!!!