Yinka Shonibare CBE RA - New Now London Tuesday, December 15, 2020 | Phillips

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  • "The fabrics are not really authentically African the way people think. They prove to have a crossbred cultural background quite of their own. And it’s the fallacy of that signification that I like. It’s the way I view culture – it’s an artificial construct." —Yinka Shonibare CBE RA 

    Yinka Shonibare CBE RA has become known for interlacing diverse cultural references in his work, producing colourful sculptures, installations, collages and stitched quilts. With its vivid tones and oscillatory subject matter, Bird is a marvellous example of the artist’s layered practice. Delineating iconic European landmarks such as the Acropolis of Athens and Alexandros of Antioch’s the Venus de Milo, as well as images reminiscent of Shonibare’s African, and specifically Nigerian descent, the African masks worn by the classical figures and Victorian ladies, the batik textile pattern in the background and the “bird creature” is taken from the Mappa Mundi (the largest medieval map of the world) and represents the outsider- "the other.” Bird carries a number of symbols that move beyond visual representation, and into the realm of socio-political commentary. As disparate visual elements shift between foreground and background, pitting bright colours against marble white, and impressions of movement against ideals of durational solidity, the composition hints at a complex power dynamic between two distinct cultural legacies, together addressing the thorny history of colonialism. As such, Bird is a spectacular example of Shonibare’s fresh and original artistic production which subtly addresses pre-conceived notions of identity and representation. colonialist damages still dominant in today’s world, Shonibare creates an environment which invites the viewer to reflect upon the complexity of fraught historical legacies.

    • Provenance

      Donated by the artist

Property Sold to Benefit the Yinka Shonibare Foundation



stitched quilt
135 x 190 cm (53 1/8 x 74 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2019.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for £56,700

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Specialist, Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 15 December 2020