British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare returns to South Africa next month, bringing his globe headed dolls in west African wax prints to a solo exhibition at the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
It’s the first time in 15 years that Shonibare is exhibiting in South Africa.
Known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism, Shonibare works in painting, sculpture, photography, film and installation. The use of globe heads and colourful wax print fabrics in his sculptures has become something of a signature for the artist who grew up in Nigeria.
In his new exhibition, Ruins Decorated, Shonibare asks “if a historically dominant culture can ever empathise with another culture”.
Part one of the exhibition consists of ruined historical symbols of the Roman and British empires dressed in in colourful wax prints. Shonibare transforms the classical white marble bodies into colourful sculptures – the decoration of power in the wrong colours.
In the exhibition notes, Shonibare points out: “Some might say the right colours, as the original classical sculptures would have been painted in bright colours. That is, before Johann Winckelmann, the 19th century historian, created his fallacy of the superiority of the white classical marble sculpture”.
Ruins Decorated opens at the Goodman Gallery on 1st September 2018.