Cheryl Sim on Orange Blob
Born in London of Nigerian heritage, Yinka Shonibare CBE has become known worldwide for his use of Dutch wax fabric as a conceptual and formal device in all of his work. While stereotypically associated with Africa, the origins of Dutch wax fabric are actually found in Indonesian batik techniques, which were then industrialized and appropriated by European interests. With its mixed and mistaken provenances, Dutch wax fabric provides a sumptuous yet probing vehicle to evoke the complexity of concepts such as identity, authenticity, representation, migration, and of course diaspora. Orange Blob features painting on Dutch wax printed textiles, which are arranged in a grid formation on a painted background. While the tenets of high modernism are evoked here, they are also turned on their heads through colour, pattern, and the history of Dutch wax itself.
About Yinka Shonibare CBE
Yinka Shonibare CBE (b. London, 1962 ) moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to the UK to study Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London, and Goldsmiths College, London, where he received his Masters in Fine Art. In 2002, he was commissioned to create one of his most recognised installations, Gallantry and Criminal Conversation for Documenta XI. In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize, and in 2008, his mid-career survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; touring to the Brooklyn Museum, New York, and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. In 2010, his first public art commission, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, and was acquired by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. In 2013, he was elected as a Royal Academician and in 2017, Wind Sculpture VI was featured in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of the Arts, London as part of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Shonibare was also commissioned by the Yale Center for British Art to create Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina for inclusion in Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World, which went on display at Kensington Palace, London in 2017. He was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List.