Wind Sculpture (SG) V, 2019 (exhibited 2020)
Yinka Shonibare CBE
Wind Sculptures (SG) V explores the notion of harnessing the wind, and freezing it in a moment of time. Painted in a Dutch wax textile pattern, the work manifests as a large three-dimensional piece of fabric that appears to be blowing in reaction to the natural elements of the surrounding environment.
The fabric itself is a metaphor for the movement of people, trade routes and global relationships. Batik fabric originated in Indonesia, and Dutch colonizers used the technique to mass-produce fabrics that were sold to Britain’s West African colonies, where they were embraced and are now considered in the world’s eyes as authentic African products.
The piece reminds us that our contemporary cultures, like the batik fabric, are the result of centuries of cross-cultural exchange. By referencing both this hybrid fabric and the powerful yet invisible nature of wind, the work suggests that identity is always a richly layered and dynamic set of relationships, while evoking a sense of freedom and possibility.
Yinka Shonibare CBE’s interdisciplinary practice explores colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalization. Through examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, Shonibare’s works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.