Yinka Shonibare

(London, England, 1962 - )

Europe, British-Nigerian

At age three, Yinka Shonibare’s Nigerian parents returned to their native Lagos and established a home in which British and African cultures coexisted. Although Shonibare attended an elite English-speaking school in Lagos, he was encouraged to speak Yoruba at home. The role clothing plays in conveying cultural identity was impressed upon Shonibare at an early age when his father, a successful lawyer, left for work donning a European-style suit yet wore African robes at home. Shonibare attended Byam Shaw School of Art, London (1984–89) and Goldsmith’s College, London (1989–91). He has had solo exhibitions at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville (2006), the Miami Art Museum, Florida (2008), the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (2009), as well as a traveling retrospective organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2008) Shonibare has a solo exhibition scheduled at the Museum of Fine arts, Boston in 2010. He is the 2010 recipient of the Fourth Plinth Commission in Trafalgar Square. In 2005 Shonibare was designated a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), a British order of chivalry, which he ironically embraces given that his work promotes the ambiguity of his hybrid African/British identity.


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