Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yinka Shonibare – Modern African art from the UK


British-born Nigerian textile Artist, Yinka Sonibare is an internationally recognized contemporary artist. He has gained international attention by exploring issues of race and class through a range of media that includes sculpture, painting, photography, and installation art. One of his creations are classic Victorian costumes in African style. But he discovered something about the African clothing style that most people don't know.

He discovered that the 'Dutch wax' fabrics he chose to use in his art pieces was originally manufactured in Holland by the Dutch as they were trying to copy Indonesian Batik designs. The Dutch industrially had produced the fabrics for sale in the Indonesian market. The mass produced fabrics failed to appeal to the Indonesians as they did not like the industrially produced versions and so the Dutch merchants began selling the fabrics in West Africa. The English also started to manufacture the fabric in Manchester. Many people think this are authentic 'African fabrics' and he likes the 'fakeness' of that. Today in West Africa, and in many parts of the African continent, the patterned fabric is now an important and distinctive element of the African culture and symbolic of African identity.

On the photo: Scramble for Africa, 2003, 14 figures, 14 chairs and table " a recreation of the Berlin conference in the 19th century...It was when Africa was being divided up. It was in Europe. They had this conference in Berlin. And the conference was called Scramble for Africa. So on the table there's a map of Africa drawn.

5 comments:

  1. that´s really impressing...full filled with eye-catching details.I wonder how much those wonders may cost...XD!

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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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  3. I am a great admirer of your work. Also, I was always aware of the dutch connection to the fabric and wished West Africans would get their act together by snubbing it. At least Ghana makes good african batik without the wax.

    Keep creating.

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