Art21 Extended Play

Yinka Shonibare MBE | “Black Artists”


Yinka Shonibare MBE. "How to Blow up Two Heads at Once (Ladies)," 2006. Two-life size mannequins, two guns, Dutch wax printed cotton, shoes, and leather riding boots, dimensions variable; plinth: 63 x 96 1/2 x 48 inches overall, each figure: 63 x 61 x 48 inches overall. Collection of Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. Photo by Stephen White © Yinka Shonibare MBE; Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

Our latest Exclusive video is now live on click here to watch Yinka Shonibare MBE on “Black Artists.” As Shonibare installs his 2008 solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia, he discusses his experience as a black artist living and working in the United Kingdom. With few black artist role models from the previous generation to follow in the path of, Shonibare describes his motivation and strategy for getting his work into the art system.

In multimedia projects that reveal his passion for art history, literature, and philosophy, Yinka Shonibare MBE provides a critical tour of Western civilization and its achievements and failures. At the same time, his sensitive use of his own foibles (vanity, for one) and challenges (physical disability) provide an autobiographical perspective through which to navigate the contradictory emotions and paradoxes of his examination of individual and political power.

Yinka Shonibare MBE is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Transformation of the Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS. Watch full episodes online for free via PBS Video or Hulu, as a paid download via iTunes (link opens application), or as part of a Netflix streaming subscription.

CREDITS | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Philippe Charluet & Ian Serfontein. Sound: Mark Cornish & Paul Stadden. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Yinka Shonibare MBE. Thanks: Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.