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Yinka Shonibare MBE, Photo: Josh Wright

Culture Now: Yinka Shonibare MBE

7 Dec 2012

As part of a series of Culture Now talks honouring fourth plinth artists, the ICA presents Yinka Shonibare MBE in conversation with Sue Hubbard.

Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at age three. Returning to London to study fine art, he graduated from Goldsmiths University as part of the ‘Young British Artists’ generation.

Over the past decade, he has become well-known for putting national and cultural definitions into question through the media of sculpture, painting, photography and, more recently, film and performance. Describing himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare explores post-colonialism in context of contemporary globalisation, in particular the interrelationships between African and European political histories.

Shonibare was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor at Documenta 10 to create his most recognized work Gallantry and Criminal Conversation (2002) which subsequently launched him on an international platform. In 2004, Shonibare was a Turner Prize nominee and was awarded the decoration of Member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”. His major mid-career survey opened at the MCA Sydney in 2008 and toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York (2009) and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. (2009). In 2010, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle became Shonibare’s first public art commission on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. As a result of a public appeal launched by the Art Fund to buy the work from the artist, the work is now on display at the National Maritime Museum, London. In June 2012 his second public sculpture was displayed outside the Royal Opera House, London. It will remain there for the next five years.

Sue Hubbard is an art critic, novelist, broadcaster and award-winning poet. She has written extensively on art and has been featured in art magazines such as NY Arts, Tate, Irish Art Review and Apollo and newspapers such as The Times, The New Statesman and The Independent. She was the Poetry Society’s only ever Public Art Poet, responsible for the poem Eurydice in the underpass at Waterloo Station and is London Correspondent for the Los Angeles contemporary art magazine, Artillery. She has contributed to many arts programmes including Kaleidoscope, Night Waves and The Verb. In 2006 she was awarded a major Arts Council Literary Award. Her books include Depth of Field (2000), Ghost Station (2004), Rothko’s Red (2008), and Adventures in Art, a selection of art writings that were published by Damien Hirst's Other Criteria in 2010. Her new book, Girl in White, is a fiction based around German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker, and was published this autumn by Cinnamon Press. 

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