Yinka Shonibare MBE

Born in 1962 in London
Lives and works in London


Goldsmiths College, London, England, 1991
Byam Shaw School of Art, London, England, 1989

About The Artist

Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in 1962 in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art, first at Byam Shaw School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College) and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA.

Shonibare’s work explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture,  photography and film. Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His trademark material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys in London. This type of fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to the colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a new sign of African identity and independence.

Shonibare was a Turner prize nominee in 2004, and was also awarded the decoration of Member of the ‘Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ or MBE, a title he has added to his professional name. Shonibare was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor at Documenta 11, Kassel, in 2002 to create his most recognized work ‘Gallantry and Criminal Conversation’ that launched him on to an international stage. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennale and  internationally at leading museums. In September 2008, his major mid-career survey  commenced at the MCA Sydney and then toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. He was elected as a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London in 2013.

In 2014, Doughty Hanson & Co Real Estate and Terrace Hill, commissioned ‘Wind Sculpture’ and it is installed in Wilcox Place, London. Measuring 6 metres by 3 metres, it explores the notion of harnessing movement through the idea of capturing and freezing a volume of wind in a moment in time.

Upcoming 2016 solo exhibition; ‘…and the wall fell away’ is the title for Shonibare’s new solo show with Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. This exhibition of entirely new work will open in October. Later that same month ‘Wind Sculpture VII’ will be unveiled at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. and a survey exhibition at the prestigious Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Recent notable solo exhibitions include; End of Empire, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2016);‘Recreating The Pastoral’, Carlow, Ireland (2016); ‘Childhood Memories’, Pearl Lam Galleries.


Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
James Cohan Gallery, New York
Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Carriage Works, New South Wales, Australia
Blain|Southern Berlin, Germany
Pearl Lam Galleries Hong Kong

Select Permanent Collections

Arts Council Collection, London, England
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA
Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C, USA
Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan, USA
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C, USA
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
Magasin 3, Stockholm, Sweden
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome, Rome, Italy
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C, USA
North Carolina Museum of Art, North Carolina, USA
Norton Museum of Art, Florida USA
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Monaco
Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, USA
Speed Art Museum, Louisville, USA
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA
Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Tate Collection, London, England
The Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio, USA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England
Walker Arts Centre, Minneapolis, USA
Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts, USA