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Being an ArtistYinka Shonibare CBE (RA)

November 30, 2009

In his London studio, artist Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA) reflects on what it means for him to be an artist, how he views his occupation as a utopian pursuit, and how the lines between the personal and professional aspects of his life are blurred.

More information and credits

Credits

Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Serfontein. Sound: Paul Stadden. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA). Thanks: Ann Marie Peña.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)

Known for using batik in costumed dioramas that explore race and colonialism, Yinka Shonibare CBE also employs painting, sculpture, photography, and film in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity. Taking on the honorific CBE (and previously MBE) as part of his name in everyday use, Shonibare plays with the ambiguities and contradictions of his attitude toward the Establishment and its legacies of colonialism and class. In multimedia projects that reveal his passion for art history, literature, and philosophy, Shonibare provides a critical tour of Western civilization and its achievements and failures.

“Half the time actually I don’t believe that I am doing what I’m doing. I’m realizing my dreams and that somehow is also my profession.”

Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)

Artistic Motivation

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Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)

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Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)