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  • Provenance

    Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    “What I want to suggest is that there is no such thing as a natural
    signifier, that the signifier is always constructed in other words,
    that what you represent things with is a form of mythology.”
    Yinka Shonibare
    Nourished by ambiguity, Yinka Shonibare turns his artworks into
    the protagonists of his very own fairy-tale utopia. At first sight,
    the Turner Prize nominee’s art appears cheerful, decorative, rich
    in colour and easy to enjoy. On further examination, however,
    this initial impression develops into a more profound and darker
    understanding. Wittily playing with metaphors, Shonibare’s
    art engages in concepts such as identity, authenticity, and
    transformation whilst always including an autobiographical link.
    Born in London, raised in Nigeria and later to return to London,
    Shonibare uses his art to broach central issues of his personal
    history, such as cultural hybridisation and post-colonialism. The
    series 19th Century Kid depicts child-sized, headless mannequins
    which are dressed in costumes deliberately reminiscent of
    19th-century Britain. Strikingly, the colourful fabric used in the
    imitation Victorian clothing is generally associated with African
    dress. However, Shonibare sets us on the wrong track. Labelled as
    African, the fabric actually originates from Indonesia, introduced
    to the African continent by British manufacturers via Dutch
    colonisers. Apart from synthesising multiple readings of this
    kind, Shonibare’s aim is to construct a fiction which conveys the
    underlying truth of contemporary society.



Two works: 19th Century Kid (Benjamin Disraeli) & 19th Century Kid (William Gladstone)

Two sculptures comprised of wood, fabric collage, amethyst, metal chain, and metal supports.
Each sculpture: 167.6 x 71.7 x 73 cm (66 x 28 1/4 x 28 3/8 in).

£40,000 - 60,000 ‡ ♠

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

13 October 2010